This Sunday (2/12/2023), the first Sunday of the Holy Coptic month of Meshir, the Church Gospel reading is from John 6:22-27. In this passage, the day after Jesus fed the 5,000 with the five loaves and two fish, the same people wanted to find Jesus to make Him their king, but Jesus already withdrew to the mountains, and the disciples set sails to the other side of the lake, and the crowd knows that Jesus hadn’t left with the disciples. So when the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus, and when they had found Jesus they said “Rabbi, when did you come here” (John 6:22-25). Jesus then continues and tells them that they should not care about the food that passes away, “but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you” (John 6:27).
In this passage, a miracle was performed by Jesus walking over the sea, for which St. John Chrysostom said, “though He did not actually show Himself to the multitude walking on the sea yet gave them the opportunity of inferring what had taken place”. Hence, when the people asked Christ “Rabbi, when did you come here” they meant how did you get here? The Lord didn’t answer their question so He doesn’t have to mention that He came walking on the water, but He favored to answer them with what would be spiritually enlightening. Jesus said to them, “…you seek me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled”(John 6:26). They wanted the bread and the display of a miraculous king to lead them. According to St. Cyril of Alexandria, Jesus’ answer rebuked their motives as to why they were searching for Him. The Lord continued after the rebuke “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal.” (John 6:27), which means don’t strive for material things, but strive for the spiritual things, and that if we work to all our earthly desires, we will not get eternal life with our Savior.
Let us always seek the Kingdom of Heaven first and to do this, we must build a stronger relationship and partake in all the Holy Sacraments. Building this relationship with Christ is our way to becoming better Christians and gaining the eternal Kingdom of Heaven with our Lord and Savior.