DesireFr. Barnabas Powell
Christ is risen!
An old preacher friend of mine once said “Jesus ain’t all you need until He’s all you want!”
Lousy grammar, but good theology. Just listen to our Lord in today’s Gospel reading: “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” John 6:35
What you hunger for, what you thirst for, reveals what you believe is your source for life. If you hunger and thirst for prestige, or recognition, or fame, or comfort, or ease, or… well, you get the idea; then in your heart you believe these “things” will bring you true life. But over and over in our lives we prove these “things” don’t quite get us to the place our truest selves know we need to be. Disappointment after disappointment should teach us that there simply has to be a more stable “Source” for real living.
This is exactly what our Lord is teaching us today in the Gospel lesson. He is our only true Source for real life, and all other “illusions” of life are simply that: illusions. If you seek riches, you discover that riches don’t really solve all your problems. If you seek fame, you discover that fame can’t satisfy that deep longing in your heart. If you seek knowledge, you discover that there is always more to learn and even brilliance is no guarantee of true contentment.
No, my dearest, we were made for more lofty places than any of these lesser desires will ever deliver to us. We were made to be truly alive connected to the Source Who made us and loves us.
If our authentic and very good hunger for true life, if our authentic and very good thirst for true contentment, is ever going to be satisfied it will only be satisfied by a relationship with Him Who is True Bread and True Drink. No wonder the central act of worship in the timeless Church is the Eucharist – Bread and Wine. No wonder the Eucharist is called “Communion” because relationship with Christ and one another is the only “atmosphere” of true life we will ever need. No wonder schism and division, hatred and bitterness, anger and jealousy, fear and doubt, fighting and foolish pride, are always antithetical to this true life. Because they always lead to loneliness and separation, not to oneness and unity.
Today, dear ones, our struggle must be about allowing the grace of God to transform our desires. We must constantly place our first and best energies in struggling to bring what we want into conformity to what leads us to True Life. Our first battleground is our desire. What do you want more than anything? Answer that question and you will have a perfect diagnosis for your spiritual needs.