BREAKTHROUGH JN 6: 24-35 ...8th / 9th S. after
1] In feeding 'the 5000' Jesus connects himself back to Elisha.
Here he connects with Moses. Always look for connections! 2] Eternal life has nothing to do
with length of life & everything to do with its (God-) quality.
[The Complete Gospels, pub. by Polebridge calls it 'real' life.] It's
happening now, while we live here on earth.
WARMING UP: Is there anything that smells
better than freshly baked bread? TREASURES OLD & NEW:
Identify God at work in anything this week?
ENTERING INTO THE STORY:
24-27 Are we conscious of many people today
jumping out of their skins to follow Jesus like these people are driven
to follow him, even though their motives may be mixed? If someone asks
us, "Why do you chase after Jesus?" how do we answer them? (After we've
picked ourself up from the floor at the shock of being asked!) Are our
motives for following Jesus at all mixed, or don't we think about that?
How much self-interest would be in our answer? As much as Jesus
discerns in these people seeking him out?
Are there any 'signs' (JN's term for 'miracles') that attract us to
Jesus today, or were they only of / for their own time? What
contemporary signs are we able to see? How are we to discern wrong
signs, false signs, etc. from true signs? What defines a 'sign' as
true? Can signs be true in more ways than one? Are there steps we can
take to make it less likely we'll overlook a true, God-given sign of
some sort? How do we know one when we see it? Is it just a matter of
seeing with our eyes, or are there other 'eyes' that need to be brought
28-29 If someone
were to ask us, "What must we do to do the works of God?", how might we
answer them? How would it compare with Jesus' answer to the people in
our story? If all we really have to do is "believe in the One God
sent", how open does that leave us to accusations of not needing to
actually do anything? Do we
ever have to wrestle with that in our own life? In our experience, what
connects believing & doing? Is believing easy as pie, or hard work?
Can we say why we find it either easy or hard?
30-35 Do we
ever find ourself consciously looking for signs? If that's the case, do
we ever find them? Are we looking in the right places, in the right
way? How much does our faith depend upon what someone else once passed
on to us? Are we sure it's become first-hand rather than a
hand-me-down? Do we approach any aspect of our own faith with a kind of
'hand-out mentality' as Jesus suspects is going on here? Can prayer be
like that sometimes?
Given that bread isn't
as central to most of our lives as it once was, does that mean we have
to work harder to 'translate' this kind of imagery into new ways of
seeing the connectedness of God to daily life now? Are we just too
sophisticated for that kind of way of looking at things today? If so,
is that to our advantage or our detriment? Does the taking &
blessing & breaking & sharing of bread in the Eucharist 'bite'
as much as it's meant to anymore? What does it mean for us to pray, "Give us this bread
always"? Can we see real connections between God & Bread
& Eucharist & Life today or are they largely imagined? By whom?
As we enter into this story, can we learn anything that might help our
spirituality, help us pray better, worship better? What does it
actually mean to feed on God?