“I propose to test them in this way to see whether they will follow my law or not” God testing the chosen people as they dither on their journey of Exodus..a Jesus who tested Philip in last weekend’s gospel “he only said this to test Philp; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do”.. ..is it the same God & the same Jesus who test us with the covid virus? ..does God test us? ..or do life & faith experiences challenge us in a self-appraisal & an examination of conscience?
“..the whole community of the sons of Israel began to complain against Moses & Aaron” ; Lord have mercy “..I have heard the complaints of the sons of Israel..” ; Christ have mercy “..say this to them; you shall have bread to your hearts content..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“..when the going gets tough, the tough get going” the chosen people, fed up with a life of slavery & brick-making in Egypt, were led out by God & his servant Moses in the exodus journey towards the land of milk & honey, the promised land. When the going got really tough, instead of pulling together & keeping faith with the divine presence & their spiritual compass, they hesitated dithered & looked back to the “good old days” of pans of meat, fresh bread, melons & cucumbers, afraid of the open horizon & fresh air of the journey of change & of the divine promise..so God, as ever, listens to their complaint & offers them, not a test, but an abundance of meat & bread; not a freshly baked cob from Thomas the Baker but manna in the desert..a small host of unleavened bread placed in palm of your hand in 20mins time..the bread of life..”what is that?” they asked as they looked down their noses at what was/is on offer..& still, we too grumble murmur & complain.. “trust me” says God..”trust in my Son, trust in my Church”.. ..& the cross-examination on journey of exodus “Rabbi, when did you come here?” continues, with the emphasis on “cross”; not the Cross of self sacrifice but the cross of not getting my own way..”why didn’t you tell us [ why didn’t you ask us? ] you were going to leave us for Capernaum?”..& notice their passion need & dependency as they crossed in boats to find him..how good are we at travelling even 3miles, 6 mins, in our valley of milk & honey to meet him?..Jesus questions their motives; you’ve come to be fed not to buy into a lifetimes relationship with me..you want what you want, rather than self sacrificing to do what I ask of you, what I need of you.. “..do not work for food that cannot last..work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you” & then the risky question they put to Jesus, without realising what it might cost them..or they wouldn’t have asked it..”what must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?”..the reply is threatening & life changing.. “you must believe in the one he has sent” clear powerful engaging & inviting..”believe in the one he has sent” they wobble at prospect & seek more head-centred assurances rather than risk heart-centred surrender..”what sign will you give us to show us that we should believe in you?” what jaw-dropping cheek affrontery & insolence “what work will you do?” they test the person & the promise..& he gives them what they think they want..”I am the bread of life” come, believe, & have bread for life, for eternal life.. & if only they knew the cost as well as the reward..title of a book on prayer & spirituality by Fr Jock Dalymple says it all..“Costing not less than everything”.. ..costing not a melon or a cucumber, a wafer of bread & a standing order for a weekly offering, but costing everything.. ..the answer & the test is yours to take to delay or to deny.. “Sir, give us that bread always”..if only they & now you, knew..what the belief, the conviction, & the consequences would do to you.. ..& some of you will be hearing it, hearing this, from your head as a threat, whereas when you hear it & read it from your heart, it is the promise of a lifetime..an eternal lifetime.. ..some of them, some of them, couldn’t see the bread for the melons..