In Jesus’ day, the people of his faith followed strict religious rules which governed much of their every day lives. This is for the most part well known, and Jesus was known for a particular attitude towards such laws. While many of these laws pointed towards a time when they would be superseded by some new dispensation, some new testament from God, for Jesus these laws were supposed to presuppose outward manifestations of inward dispositions. When the Pharisees the scribes saw that many of Jesus’ disciples were somewhat lax with these rules they saw it as an indictment of their teacher, Jesus. His response however turns their world on its head. Pointing to the primacy of the heart, Jesus does not do away with the law as it is, but instead seeks to replace the moralism which had found a home in the teaching of these Pharisees. Jesus asserted a new law of love which was to govern the hearts and minds of all who were to follow him. How often we find ourselves today thinking of the faith as nothing more than mere ethical propositions or lofty ideals. Jesus is calling us to much more than this – he is calling us to a relationship of love – love which casts out evil and purifies our hearts so that we can climb the mountain of the Lord.
Wise Words of Wisdom
“Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.” – G.K. Chesterton
Month: August 2015
Today’s reading begins a series of readings from John’s Gospel that build upon last week’s story of the feeding of the 5000.
Here Jesus makes some incredible claims – claims that are worth scrutinising for, if they are true, they change everything.
Jesus points to a significant truth, namely that the human appetite is infinite, despite the fact that it can be satiated for a time with all manner of things.
Later on St Augustine of Hippo would emphasise this reality in the opening pages of his autobiography ‘The Confessions’, where he writes “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Essentially pointing to the reality that our the human person is created for eternal union with the Triune God, and nothing but this union will suffice.
Here Jesus points to the way that such a union will be achieved – and it is a way which causes scandal for those who first heard his words. Indeed, it continues to cause scandal to this day.
Jesus clearly makes the claim, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
He is the very thing that we yearn for, that we hunger and thirst for. It is he, and he alone who can satiate our deepest desires. He is that bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
The Gospel readings for the coming weeks will see Jesus explaining what this means. For those of us who know, our continued