August 05, 2018
The crowd follows Jesus back to Capernaum. Jesus fed the multitude and now they seek him out for more food. He admonishes them: “Do not work for food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life which the son of man will give you.” Curious, they ask: “What can we do to accomplish the works of God.” Jesus replies: “This is the work of God, believe in the one he has sent.”
The expression “believe in” is found 34 times in the Gospel according to St. John. It sounds a bit odd. For us, belief is an “act of the mind” -- mentally grasping and affirming the teachings or doctrines the Catholic Church proposes as the deposit of faith. Belief becomes a matter of memorizing the catechism.
People are drawn to Jesus because he performs a wonderful sign of feeding the multitude. Jesus wants his disciples to come to a deeper understanding of the mystery that this sign is pointing to -- Jesus is offering himself as the bread of life. “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, whoever believes in me will never thirst.” It is like the conversation that Jesus has with the woman at the well in Samaria when he offers her life-giving water. Faith is more than knowing things about Jesus. Faith is coming to know Jesus and “believing in” him.
St. Paul writes to the Ephesians that they are not living according to how “you learned Christ.” In Christ our minds, our entire being, are transformed. We begin to see things differently, we “put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.”
Pope Francis has made an edit to the Catholic Catechism that states capital punishment is morally “inadmissible” and that the Church will work with society to end this practice. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict opposed capital punishment. Some/many Catholic will disagree with this teaching. But when we “believe in” Jesus, the One God sent into the world, we see things differently.
17th Sunday Ordinary
19th Sunday Ordinary