There is an old legend of a swan and a crane.
A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water, in which a crane was wading about, seeking snails.
For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in incredulous wonder and then inquired: “Where do you come from?”
“I come from heaven!” replied the swan.
“And where is heaven?” asked the curious crane.
“Heaven!” said the swan, “Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?”
And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City…
She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations.
With eloquence, the swan described the beauty of the other world…
… but none of it, strangely, seemed to arouse the slightest interest of the crane.
Finally the crane asked: “Are there any snails there?”
“Snails??” repeated the swan; “No! Of course there are not!”
“Then,” said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, “you can have your heaven. I only want snails!”
The crane was satisfied with the lowly earthly “snails” and failed to have any interest for the divine “heavens”
How often we are also like this crane….
… interested only in earthly affairs, and least attracted to the heavenly realms
… busy only with gathering earthly pleasures but rejecting offers for heavenly happiness
The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus chiding the people for following Him, just for the sake of earthly desires, and instead, invites and exhorts them to seek for higher and heavenly longings in life…
“Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6: 27)
The people had witnessed Jesus’ great miracle of the multiplication of loaves.
· Their hunger had been satisfied.
· Their appetites had been gratified.
· In Jesus, they found a person who was able to answer the bodily needs.
· In Jesus, they found a person who was able to satisfy their material desires.
The people desired to crown Him as their King!
Is this not a trend in our society as well?
How often are the bread-givers and money-makers held in high esteem, even in our days…
… at the expense of people who are unable contribute much or do much work.
Think of the aged, the sick, the invalids in our own houses, communities and societies, who are unable to work or contribute anything materially…
· How often do we neglect them!
· How often do we put them down!
· How often do we call them as useless!
We sometimes glorify people based only their work, their position and their activities…
· The “being” of a person is often neglected… only the “doing” of a person is exalted!
· The “essence” of a person is often not given value… only the “work” of a person is given credit!
But Jesus refrains from being a victim to this mentality of the society.
· He refuses to be their “Bread-Boss”!
· He rejects to being their “Materialistic-Messiah”!
And so when people, come to Him, Jesus recognizes their motive in seeking Him…
… and He chides them saying:
“Amen, Amen, I say to you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs but you ate the loaves and were filled.
>> Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6: 26-27)
The Lord seeks to lead the people to desire and long for the higher realities of life.
And this is the wish of the Lord for each one of us too, that we…
… be interested not only in worldly affairs; rather, we be more attracted to the heavenly realms
… be busy not only with gathering earthly satisfactions; but, we accept and embrace more of heavenly happiness
· It is true that “to the hungry one, food and other material wants demand higher urgency”
· It is not denied that “to the one whose basic needs are not met, material satisfaction is important”
But having said this… one must also be willing to accept, that beyond these material aspects, the human person has greater needs – on a spiritual sense, that of the soul, towards the transcendental realities!
What is needed therefore, is a proper prioritizing…
· Does God and the Heavenly realities mean more to me, than earthly desires?
· Does Jesus and His Virtues occupy primal position in my life, than the worldly values?
A true prioritizing and firm conviction alone can help us to be the true witnesses of Jesus, the Messiah.
>> Jesus is our model and example, Who, in His life, accorded the first and primal place to God and His Will.
The lives of the saints and the martyrs are also proof for this fact.
In the Acts of the Apostles, 6:8-15, we read of how St Stephen, the first Martyr of the Church, “was filled with grace and power, and could withstand any persecution”, because he had a made a choice for Jesus and His Kingdom, above all!
He rejected all worldly promises and desires that blocked his view of the Kingdom!
Are we going to be a people, merely fixed in searching, through the slimy banks, for ‘snails’ of earthly pleasures?
>> Or we going to be a people, who can transcend and rise up higher, to live our lives in the grandeur of Jesus and His Everlasting Kingdom?
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “He who is able to procure pearls, does not burden himself with shells.
>> Similarly, those who are intent on virtue…
… are not eager for honours!