“Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you.” (John 6:26-27)
One cannot help to be impressed by the discipline many athletes undergo. They spend hours in the gym, deny themselves certain foods, practice their sport day in and day out and even make sure they have a sufficient amount of sleep so they can function properly.
Yet how short is their glory! It seems that when one person breaks a record, somebody else comes along in a relatively short span of time and topples that record. The former record melts away into history and sooner or later will be forgotten.
Jesus gives us an important principle that is necessary to discern our priorities in life: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life.” (Jn 6:27)
It is true everybody needs to eat; everybody needs to buy clothing and other accessories; everybody deserves to go on vacation, etc., but a characteristic of our culture is that we have turned these things into “ends,” and for so many people they constitute their identity and their whole life becomes an endless accumulation of things that eventually crumble right before them.
The question needs to be asked. Am I laboring for food that will ultimately perish? The prophet Isaiah sums it up perfectly, “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Incline your ear and come to me, hear that your soul may live.” (Is 55:2)
What is your answer?
Br. Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, CFR
St. Leopold Friary
Yonkers, New York