Next day, the people, who had stayed on the other side, realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples; but rather, the disciples had gone away alone. Other boats from Tiberias landed near the place where all these people had eaten the bread. When they saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Master, when did you come here?”
Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, you look for me, not because of the signs which you have seen, but because you ate bread and were satisfied. Work then, not for perishable food, but for the lasting food which gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give it to you, for he is the one on whom the Father has put his mark.”
Then the Jews asked him, “What shall we do? What are the works that God wants us to do?” And Jesus answered them, “The work God wants is this: that you believe in the One whom God has sent.”
There is a proverb that says, “Silence is golden.” This amounts to a warning: if you talk a lot, you have a good chance of saying something foolish at some point. That is true, but like many proverbs “silence is golden” cannot be adopted as an absolute norm. Sometimes silence is a cowardly betrayal.
Today’s liturgy presents us with three men who dared to speak out against evil and who paid their act of bravery with their life.
The first man is the saint we celebrate today, Bishop Stanislaus of Kracow, Poland. When his king, King Boleslow, invaded Russia, Stanislaus excommunicated him. In retaliation, the king had him assassinated in 1079.
The second man, the deacon Stephen, is presented in today’s first reading as a fearless defender of the Christian new faith. His opponents ended up stoning him to death.
The third man is Jesus himself. In today’s gospel reading we see how he fearlessly denounced people’s wrong motives for following him around: they only care for material food, not for God’s food which Jesus wants to give them. We know how his straight talk landed him on the cross.
Do we dare to speak up when our conscience tells us we should?
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