Monday, 3rd Week of Easter
“Do not work for food that perishes…”
There is a story found in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Mary, Edmund, their cousin Eustice, and some of the colorful creatures of Narnia, come upon a crystal-clear pool of water with what appears to be a golden statue of a man at the bottom. Only, they discover that it is a magical pool that turns everything into gold that touches the water. It appears that the statue at the bottom of the pool is a man who was so consumed with accumulating gold or so much wealth that he ignored its dangers.
Even though the characters of the story are awed at the magic of the pool, they recognize that such a place is far more dangerous than it is beneficial. And so they wipe their memories clean of that place.
You see, when you waste your energies seeking to fulfill the hunger for things that perish, what you will find all too often is that you will still be dissatisfied, discontented, disappointed. And your dissatisfaction will usually put you deeper into the hole you are digging for yourself. Whatever piece of the pie that you are hungering for – be it wealth, power, prestige, honor, success… be it acceptance, admiration, or esteem of other… be it gratification of your urges and desires… Whatever it is, you are going to find yourself hungry for more and more and more… until you are so out of control.
In our consumer-driven world, in which many people literally work themselves to death accumulating a never-fully-satisfying abundance of material things, Jesus’ words in today’s gospel challenge our society’s misguided substitutes for ‘life’. “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
Jesus is simply underlining the fact that the human heart has a hunger and a thirst that nothing on earth can satisfy. Jesus promises to nurture and satisfy us. It is a promise fulfilled in the Eucharist that we now celebrate. If there is one thing we share in this assembly, it is the same hunger. We hunger for a love that does not disappoint. We hunger for a word that does not fade away. We hunger for food that does not fail to satisfy. In this Eucharist, the love of a tender God is offered to us in Word and Sacrament. In coming here, we declare that we need Jesus, the Bread of Life, to sustain us.