Friends, in today’s Gospel, the crowd that experienced the miracle of the loaves pursues Jesus to see more wonders. They finally track him down in the synagogue in the lakeside town of Capharnaum.
When they ask Jesus how he had got there ahead of them, the Lord chides them: “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. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.”
Ordinary bread satisfies only physical longing, and it does so in a transient way: one eats and one must eat soon again. But the heavenly bread, Jesus implies, satisfies the deepest longing of the heart, and does so by adapting the one who eats it to eternal life. The Church Fathers loved to ruminate on this theme of divinization through the Eucharist, the process by which the consumption of the bread of life readies one for life in the eternal dimension.