There’s an old song that’s still popular in some circles by the Rolling Stones, “I can’t get no satisfaction.” That’s probably how the crowd that was following Jesus felt. They were looking for satisfaction. Obviously not happy with what they had received, they wanted more.
Sounds familiar? How often have we not been happy with what God has provided? Everybody wants more. It’s the American way. More money, another car, add on to the house. The dream to have more can turn into a nightmare because debts need to be paid. So tempting to use the credit card, to ask for a loan, to buy at no interest. However, the bills need to be paid. We all know folks who have had to declare bankruptcy—a reality that is becoming more common—a painful reality—folks who have spent more than they can afford. What Jesus would call “working for perishable food.” Unfortunately most of the worries that keep us awake at night are related to perishable food—stuff that sooner or later will turn to dust. Countless families get divorced because of money. Fights get blown out of proportion. People will refuse to speak to one another because of property settlements. If we stuck a worry thermometer down our throat what would it read? What kind of concerns do we have? We are following Jesus just like the crowd. Our motives need discernment. “Lord please give me; Lord I want; Lord do this for me…” The challenge is to put our priorities on the food that endures for eternal life. Our Lord isn’t talking about locking ourselves in a room and praying all day. He gave us example—Jesus spent the majority of His time with people, especially with people who needed Him. Relationships are the essence of eternal life—our relationship with God and with each other.
Wherever we spend the most time—that’s where our priority is. In front of the TV, the Computer, the IPhone. We are fast become a generation of people who don’t talk to each other; we talk to machines. Time spent with our families, especially in conversation is the best investment we can make. Although school vacation is almost over, there’s still time. Children grow up rapidly. We turn around and teenage years come and go. When they depart for university, too late to have the heart to heart talk. “One of these days I’ve got to have a long talk with that boy, with that girl.” Better do it—no time like the present.
The home is where children learn about food that endures—from the example of their parents. If parents are too busy making a living—then that’s the pattern they will repeat! Yelling, scolding, reprimanding—usually go in one ear and come out the other. Affirmation—guidance—shepherding can have lasting effects. “Talk to me, tell me about your day, let me tell you about mine.” Young folks sometimes don’t know how to ask for what they need. Buying them things will not substitute for intimate conversation. Some children have everything they need except for their parents. Unhealthy cycles can be stopped. How can families live like strangers in the same home? Why do we allow the distance between us to increase? Mundane things will always be present. They can easily distract us. Perishable food is definitely popular. The food that endures takes effort—takes work. Jesus invites us to grow up and not just give up. Only mature people are willing to invest in each other. That’s why children need to be taught. The best way is by example.
The Lord wants to be the center of our home, our family, our life. He is about to feed us with the food of everlasting life. The Eucharist can change us to reflect His love for one another, starting at home.