In the Gospel of Matthew We read about the miracle of the 5 loaves and two fishes:
And when he had commanded the multitudes to sit down upon the grass, he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up what remained, twelve full baskets of fragments. And the number of them that did eat, was five thousand men, besides women and children.Matthew: 14:19:21
In our relationship with Jesus, there are many of us in the Church who are spectators of what is taking place. In the crowd many came to Jesus to see Him alone, but others were only there for the bread. They were interested only in what Jesus could do for them. Whether it was the satisfaction of curing their hunger or being healed of their physical ailments, self interest drove a number of people to step out of their ordinary day to day lives.
When we approach Jesus in Church or personal prayer, we have to ask ourselves why we are there. Are we there only for the bread and no more, or are we there for Christ himself? Do we use the Church for financial gain to sell some books and pilgrimages and seek our own glory, or do we wish to glorify the Risen Lord?
It is true when hardship comes we approach Christ having never darkened the door of a Church in years. This is a good approach as any because although imperfect, it was God’s doing you should come at all. Though many sat on the hill that day in front of Jesus for selfish reasons, he was nevertheless overjoyed that they came at all. However, he expects better from us.
The people in front of Jesus all sat on a hill, most were at the bottom of it. Like these people we sit at the back of the Church nearest the door even though there’s plenty of room up front; we do it not because we are humble, but because our hearts are closer to the doors that lead to the outside world and this is where our true loyalty is laid to rest. We hold out our tongues (or hands if you’re roman Catholic) for the Divine bread in the hopes that, should all this religious stuff be real, at least we’ve played some small part to merit the Kingdom.
We have to start approaching Christ and his Church for better reasons than this. We need to climb the hill and be closer to Jesus like his apostles. The closer we get to Jesus on the busy hill, the clearer his words become. When we sit at the bottom of the hill, we listen to what others say about Jesus, “oh he feeds the hungry and cures the blind” and we never really get to meet him in person. Instead, we fall in love only with the Chinese whispers spread about him. We fall in love with an image of the charitable giver and vending machine of healing never really getting to know the person of Jesus.
My invitation to you is don’t be satisfied with the bread (graces and healing) Jesus gives you. Climb the hill and get a closer look at the bigger prize, the bread Himself. By doing all of this you will see and hear Jesus, no longer being at the mercy of what others say and no longer become a slave to your imagination. Now, you’ve climbed the hill and can see him and hear Him more clearly. You are there for Him and not for the temporal alleviations of your own suffering, for the greatest cure is a True Life In God.