“Rabbi, when did you get here?”

The day after Jesus performed the miracle of multiplying the loaves, the crowd sought after Him and went looking for Him by boat across the sea in Capernaum (Jn 6:22-29).  When they found Jesus, they asked Him the question above.  Jesus does not answer their question but speaks of their reason for seeking Him out: they want another free meal as they had the day before.  Jesus tells them to work for food that gives eternal life that Jesus (the “Son of Man”) gives.  To accomplish the works of God they are told to believe in Jesus, the one sent from God.  The crowd’s initial query to Jesus is an opportunity for reflection for us today.  Ideally, it is a question we should never ask because the Lord is always here with us.  Now sometimes it doesn’t necessarily feel that way.  Maybe we are experiencing a particular challenge that seems too much to overcome.  Or it could be an illness or chronic condition that only gets worse.  A particularly difficult time with family, friends, or c0-workers may not make apparent Jesus in our midst.  Yet He is there in all of those situations and in every situation.  Just recall the challenges Jesus faced as the God-Man.  He “did not regard equality with God something to be grasped” (Phil 2:6) so He lived life in humility taking on all the trials and tribulations that others faced; let us go to Him prayerfully, with an open heart, and ask for guidance and strength.  We are not told of any illnesses that Jesus may have suffered, but the constant persecution of Him from very early on in His public ministry was chronic and certainly must have broken His heart (see, for example, Lk 19:41-44).  To top it off, Jesus final suffering during the Passion was short in chronological time but the depth of pain of bearing all sins of all times of those He loves infinitely — even those who during those very moments were torturing and blaspheming Him — is something we could never come close to understanding or experiencing.  Let us go to Him prayerfully, with our suffering, and ask for patience and perseverance.  And for those causing us pain through unpleasant interactions, know that Jesus struggled with persecution from without and doubt and misunderstanding from within.  Even one very close to Him, hand chosen to be among His closest collaborators, gave Him up to arrest for a few coins.  And the man He had chosen to head up His Church not only fell asleep and later abandoned Him in His time of greatest trial and need, but even topped those horrendous acts by denying that he even knew Him.  So, considering that we are not God, maybe such difficulties in interpersonal relations don’t seem so bad after all.  In fact, maybe we can see the disfigured face of Christ in those who are behaving unjustly toward us.  Let us go to Him prayerfully, with our frustrations, and ask for gentleness and humility.

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