"What sign are You going to perform for us to see? What is the 'work' You do?" —John 6:30
The crowd asked Jesus for a sign, then for a work, and next for bread (Jn 6:34). Jesus responded by giving them Himself. He said: "I Myself am the Bread of Life" (Jn 6:35).
The crowd throughout the centuries has sought power, satisfaction, exhilaration, peace, or security from Jesus. Nonetheless, Jesus repeatedly tries to redirect our attention from ourselves to Himself. Sometimes He will even withdraw from us His blessings or our intimacy with Him in prayer. We then feel like Job. Everything seems wrong, and our prayer feels "dry." Jesus is calling us to love Him for Himself and not for what He can do for us. Jesus loves us unconditionally. He will love us even if we never worship, serve, or obey Him. He wants us to also love Him unconditionally.
If you want a relationship with Jesus and not just with the works of Jesus, pray that He will remove from your life any blessing, consolation, or satisfaction you are tempted to put ahead of Him. Say with Habakkuk: "For though the fig tree blossom not nor fruit be on the vines, though the yield of the olive fail and the terraces produce no nourishment, though the flocks disappear from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet will I rejoice in the Lord and exult in my saving God" (Hb 3:17-18).
Prayer: Father, may I prefer to suffer with Your Son rather than to enjoy myself without Him.
Promise: Stephen "fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, 'Lord, do not hold this sin against them.' " —Acts 7:60
Praise: Gloria took a leave of absence from the choir to reconnect with the reason she was there — to glorify God.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Accepting Jesus as Lord, Savior, and God or on audio AV 43-1 or video V-43.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 9, 2009
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