Jesus challenges those who are listening to Him to work for food that is going to endure unto eternal life. Yes, there are times and even an imperative for us to work for food that will sustain us in the short term but this does not excuse us from maintaining the proper eternal perspective to all that we do. Too often we find ourselves focused upon things that all but completely consume our time ands energies and before we realise it God has been sidelined from our lives. It begins as subtle distraction but slowly becomes an all-consuming reality over which we have little or no control! How often has this been the experience of our life, even when we are supposedly working for the Kingdom of God? Jesus acknowledges that the crowd has gathered to see Him but questions their underlying motivation. It is all very well to want to hear Him preach but what is their motivation in doing this? Are they really seeking to be formed in the Word of God or are they merely satisfying their curiosity?

The same can be true of us – we can come to reading the Scriptures without really opening our hearts and minds to their transforming power. This is a form of hypocrisy and can only lead to ultimate disappointment as our hearts will never get what they are looking for with this sort of attitude. Jesus perceives that there is something of this in the crowd that gathers around Him and so He challenges them to look at their motives for being there. We should also do this every time we come to prayer or seek to discover God’s will by reading the Scriptures.

Our faith and all that has to do with it is something we should never take lightly. Eternal life is a very serious business even if it is God’s gift to us! When we pray and when we open our minds and hearts to God’s Word we should always do so with sincerity and a surrendered heart. Let us pray for the grace to be like Mary whose response is the model for all people of all time: “I am the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to your word.”

Have I been guilty of not taking seriously the call to prayer and reading the Scriptures?

Holy Spirit, open my mind and heart to the truth of God’s will and plan for my life and grant me the grace to follow it.