Amazing! He has just fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish and the crowd is now looking for Jesus so they can ask Him for a sign – a sign that will prove that He is “the one,” the Messiah for whom they have been waiting and praying. They have seen Him cure the sick and heard Him speaking with authority but they need more. He asks them to believe. They ask Him for a sign so that we may see and believe in you. What does it take? Let us not be too quick to criticize. Even today, with His death and resurrection as the pivot point of human existence, it is difficult for people to believe.
When we peruse the landscape of humanity we see people searching for God and, specifically, the Peace that only He can give – a Peace unlike what the world can give. They search for it in things, in philosophies, in various religions, in each other but their search always comes up short. The obvious is hidden.
We too search, sometimes unsuccessfully, because we look to the world for that which the world cannot give. Contemplate Jesus hanging on the cross for a short time. Gaze at Him, enter into His suffering, feel His pain. What hurts the most? Is it the pain of the nails scraping against the wrist and ankle bones? Is it the relentless throbbing in the head from the thorny crown? Is it the fatigued muscles, tired of supporting the body’s weight as it hangs on the cross? None of these were as painful as His view looking down and seeing only a handful of people, with His mother, grieving for His life’s unworthy outcome. What happened to the throngs who were looking for Jesus?
The mystery of God’s Peace and Mercy is really not so mysterious if we gaze upon the cross and ponder the empty tomb. All of history pivots around the three days of the Paschal Mystery for from the cross and the tomb comes the bread of life, which Jesus promises to satisfy all hunger and thirst if we only: Believe in the one He (God) sent.