Reflection on the Gospel of John 6: 25-35. Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2022

The Gospel of John 6:25-35

When the crowd found Jesus on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Collect for Thanksgiving Day Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

I wonder how many have looked at the privileged positions most of us hold as people in this country. From what we know and can tell about most of us, our needs are met regularly. We have enough. We have our fill of food and water and shelter and other basic needs. And we are able to hear Jesus’ words about ‘bread from heaven,’ and ‘food that endures for eternal life,’ and ‘the bread of God that comes down to give life to the world’ But are we able to hear the cries of those who are suffering in today’s world. Those who through no fault of their own doings need warm housing and food. On this Thanksgiving Day are we going to turn a deaf ear to those cries or are we going to step up and help? The opportunities are boundless to help others. This Gospel is an invitation, to find and share real bread for the sake of the world. What if all we are supposed to hear and do in response to this story is to find ways to feed hungry people? What if all we’re called today is to love one another the way God has first loved us by feeding us enough, probably more than we need, in too many instances.  So through our help those who hunger, and their physical needs have been fed, maybe their spirits might be nourished, just the same?

When we believe in Jesus, and take him into our lives, we live differently. We see ourselves and one another as persons created in the image and likeness of God rather than as obstacles or issues to be overcome. We trust the silence of prayer rather than the words of argument. We choose love and forgiveness rather than anger and retribution. We relate with intimacy and vulnerability rather than superficiality and defensiveness. We listen for God’s voice rather than our own. Ultimately, we seek life rather than death.

As we awake on this Thanksgiving Day we invite God into our homes and to join us in the Thanksgiving celebrations. We don’t need to be constantly reminded to be more thankful for the things in our lives, we need to be more thoughtful of those who don’t have the things they need in their lives. As we look around do we see a sign from God? All we have to do is look into each other’s eyes to see the face of God. If we cannot seem to see God and we want a sign, it usually ends up being right in front of us in each other.  And that helps me to believe again, and again, and again,

“I am the bread of life,” Jesus tells the people. “Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

As I conclude this reflection, I want to take a look at why this year we should be especially thankful. We have mostly weathered through the Corona Virus Pandemic with the help of some thoughtful people who looked after each other. Even though there is still some turmoil in our political world it is calming down, at least we are not bombarded by political ads during this special time of year. Each day does still present us with challenges so we need to take time to make sure we walk through those issues with our Lord because He will guide us each and every step. Just take a few minutes this Thanksgiving and be very thankful and don’t forget to help those who are less fortunate and don’t have enough to meet the basics needs of life.

Let us Pray: On this Thanksgiving Day let us be thankful that we can celebrate life, we need to let our worries go and thank God for all He has given us. We need to think about all we have not what we do not have. Put aside our anxieties and live life to it’s fullest believing God will guide us. This we pray on this Day of Thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior.  Amen

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