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JN 6: 24-35
8th S. after Pentecost

What a trite question the crowd asks Jesus. "When did you come here?" Aren't they game to come straight out & ask for more bread & fish? But Jesus knows what they're really after. As he knows what we're really after, too.

When it comes to our own physical needs, we can be right on the ball. But how easily we 'spiritualise' other people's needs so we don't have to do much about them. After all, spiritual things are God's realm, aren't they, so we can leave that kind of thing to him! Jesus here tries to re-connect the people & their physical need (they rarely had a decent feed!) back to their spirituality. Back to eternal life, or as I have come much to prefer, 'real life' as my 'Complete Gospels' puts it. [Polebridge (Harper) '94] Real life knows no division between the physical & the spiritual. A reason Celtic spirituality is ringing a bell with a lot of people.

When pressed, the people ask Jesus for a sign. "What are you going to do?" (For us!) In the 'feeding of the more than 5000', Jesus has just connected himself back to Elisha. Now he connects himself back to Moses. In the process he invites them (& us) to connect with all our spiritual ancestors, & beyond them, to Godself.

The thrust of what Jesus says & does in both cases is to invite us to see that he himself is the sign those who keep body & soul, physicality & spirituality together are all looking for, longing for. The Sign of God's love & compassion & connectedness & commitment to us from the grass roots up. How about we do less talking about signs (sacraments) & a lot more becoming signs (sacraments) of God's loving active presence among our fellows in all their need?