Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and anyone who comes to me I will never drive away; for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
We labor at many things: our jobs, building community, supporting our family, accompanying friends, promoting justice. To “work” seems different than to “labor.” Laboring speaks of something ongoing, something that requires deeper concentration, an investment of oneself, and something that requires patience as well as commitment so that something greater will come forth.
St. Ignatius speaks of Christ’s work of salvation as a labor of love. Christ is actively laboring in each of us, in the people in our lives, in all of creation, to lead us to fullness of life in God. Today’s Gospel reading speaks of this truth: Jesus, the Bread of Life (he who sustains us daily), is laboring continuously for God’s will: that all of God’s children will come to fullness of life with God.
What are your “labors of love?” How do you recognize God laboring in you, and in the people and situations that surround you, in these labors of love?
—Sr. Jessica Kerber, aci is a Handmaid of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a women’s congregation of Ignatian Spirituality that is a member of the Charis Ministries Partner Program.
Prayer for Generosity
Lord Jesus, teach me to be generous;
teach me to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to seek reward,
except that of knowing that I do your will.
—St. Ignatius of Loyola