RCL Year B, Proper 14
I Kings 19:4-8, Psalm 34:1-8, Ephesians 4:25–5:2, Saint John 6:35 and 41-51

Human yearning finds its satisfaction in Jesus Christ. That, certainly, endures to be one of the principal meanings of the feeding of the five thousand, the miracle we have been contemplating now for three weeks and will contemplate for two more weeks.

We arrived at this point when we were reading Saint Mark’s Gospel. When we came to the feeding of the five thousand, we jumped to Saint John who tells the miracle and then comments on it for about fifty-six verses. When we finish the commentary on the miracle, we shall return to the point where we were in Saint Mark.

In Saint John’s commentary, the miracle opens two important doors, one is the door to time, and the other door opens upon being, human relations with God. Time and being are opened to us in the miracle.

I have said before that the feeding of the five thousand looks back in time to Elisha, as in today’s first reading, and the manna in the wilderness, and it looks forward in time to eternity, to the heavenly banquet that is a figure for eternal life. That is the first door.

The second door, the door of being, particularly human relations with God, is the subject of the commentary in today’s Gospel. Having heard last week that no one who comes to Jesus is rejected, we learn from the lips of Jesus that no one can come to him unless drawn by the Father.[1] And that drawing is neither coercive nor mechanical: it is the product of human yearning or restlessness. Every interest we have, every inclination we have, if pursued honestly and open-mindedly, will lead us to God. Every interest we have and every inclination we have lead us to God and to life’s meaning. I take this to be the meaning of Jesus’ words in the Gospel today: “Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.”[2]

And so, I say to you and I say to me, that exactly where you stand is the road to God. Jesus came, lived, died, and rose, to make it so. We work out our own salvation, and we make our way to heaven most especially by feeding on God and Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. We are God’s and God’s forever. We stray from our relationship with God only by willful disobedience. Excepting that and that alone, we are on our way, guided and drawn by every yearning and inclination meeting head-on the presence of God in the Sacrament that sustains us and enlivens us to be the creatures God created us to be.

That’s a mouthful, I know. Our relationship with God is secure; our path to God is safer and broader than we usually imagine. “Taste and see that the Lord is good; * happy are they who trust in him!”[3]


[1] Saint John 6:44.

[2] Saint John 6:45.

[3] Psalm 34:8.