Dear brothers and sisters,
Last week Jesus performed the multiplication of the loaves, and all the people who witnessed the amazing miracle wanted to make Jesus king. Making Jesus king was the same thing as asking him to lead them in a revolution against the Roman Empire. The Israelites at that period in their history didn’t have their own kingdom. They were an occupied territory, ruled by a Roman delegate, who gave them only very limited powers of self-determination. The massive crowd of would-be revolutionaries was so convinced that Jesus was the perfect revolutionary leader that they followed him across the Sea of Galilee after he sneaked away in the middle of the night. Thus he finds himself once more surrounded by this huge, adoring crowd willing to follow him to the death if only he will agree to be their king, to bring them political freedom and prosperity. What would most people do in that situation? They would fulfill their dreams of ambition, giving the crowd what they wanted so as to enjoy celebrity status for as long as it lasted. This is not Jesus did. He didn’t come to earth for an ego-trip; he came to fulfill a mission. That mission is not to bring paradise on earth – which is what they want: “you are... looking for me... because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.” Rather, he came to bring them “bread from heaven,” the truth and freedom that come from of living in communion with God. He doesn’t cave in to the temptation to satisfy a natural desire for power and popularity, for merely human success. Christ is a Leader entirely focused on his mission, not on himself. If we are to be faithful to him, if we are to experience true success in this life, we need to follow in those footsteps.