Dear Parishioners & Visitors,
In the last decades, televangelism has propagated an interpretation of the Gospel which has been closely related to wealth and prosperity. This interpretation is a religious belief among some Christians who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to
religious causes will increase one's material wealth. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.
This interpretation is in conflict with what we hear in today's
Gospel reading. Jesus challenges those Jews who were looking for him for their selfish motivations in their search. Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. They are challenged on their materialistic
approach. Moreover, Jesus specifies what they should be looking for. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.
Our faith in Jesus and his message is not a contract situation in which God is obliged to provide for our material well-being and
welfare. Our attention is to be centered in the one who came down from heaven and gives life to the world. It is not that God does not care and provide for us, but our belief in Jesus and his message is not a contract to provide security and welfare. Let us not forget a very fundamental element of our faith: the reality of the cross and our imitation of Jesus in that reality. The gospel of the cross is a rejection of the gospel of wealth and prosperity.
In today's Gospel, Jesus presents himself as the bread of life. He states that whoever comes to him will never hunger and whoever
believes in him will never thirst. However, Jesus is not speaking about bodily hunger and thirst, he is speaking about our spiritual hunger and thirst; realities which are essential to our spiritual fulfillment and
welfare. Jesus and his Gospel are not a magic wand to resolve our
material needs, God has empowered each one of us with the ability to provide for our needs and the needs of others through our daily struggles and efforts. There is no magic in Christianity. We do not tie God down with a contract through our faith. On the contrary, our faith spurs us to work for the building of God's kingdom on earth as a
foreshadowing of our share in the heavenly kingdom. We are to work for the food that endures for eternal life.
—fr. Alberto Rodriguez, O.P.