Today’s fast-paced world is all about the mad rush to success. As prices continue to soar amidst crashing economies, the need to get ahead to survive has never been more crucial. Daily grind equals daily bread—and it’s easy to forget that “man does not live on bread alone.”
Today’s gospel is a sequel to the well-known multiplication of loaves. Eager for more signs, the people of Tiberias sought out Jesus all the way to Capernaum. But he rebuked them for their unnecessary focus on the material fruits of the miracles, telling them plainly that they were missing the point. Physical comforts can only provide temporary satisfaction; it is in living in faith and love and finding Jesus—the Bread of Life himself—that we can find deeper satisfaction, lasting joy and more permanent peace.
St. Stephen knew this, as told in the first reading. He sought a loftier purpose than the religious leaders of his time, who craved power and popularity. As his influence grew, so did their envy, and they plotted against him. But faith as deep as his is hard to shake, and his blamelessness shone through, so that his face appeared like “the face of an angel.”
How often do we succumb to the lures of the world we live in? Do we seek success and comfort at the expense of others? Have we lost sight of what’s truly important? As much as we need to ensure the survival of our physical bodies, Jesus urges us to nurture our spirit as well, and feed it with life-giving faith and love. This life is but a prelude to the life God has prepared for us. It is important never to lose sight of our long-term goal of eternal life, so that all our short-term actions may lead us to it.