Pleasures of today are soon gone

Friends in Christ, in the 1st century AD, the luxurious living of ancient Roman society was unparalleled. Roman banquets featured a selection of anything you wanted, wild boar, oysters, pheasant, deer; and they included exquisite and expensive delicacies such as peacock brains and nightingale tongues. Guests would often eat while reclining, while slaves swept away discarded bones and olive pits. It was commonplace for the rich to spend 10’s of thousands of dollars on these banquets.
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Pliny the Elder, in his writings from that period, describes the excessive lavishness of the people, but he believed that the terrible fires that occurred in Rome were punishment for this lifestyle. ‘In great buildings and in everything else, he says, the rest of the world has been outdone by us Romans. It was reported that a Roman lady who was married at that time, wore a robe so richly jeweled that it would cost today the equivalent of 17million dollars.
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‘There was a reason for all of this, and the reason was dissatisfaction; a hunger that nothing could satisfy.’ So says William Barclay, in his commentary on John. People who are hungry inside, who can’t find meaning to life, they seek out anything that can give a thrill or a new pleasure in life. But it’s always for earthly things, things that are temporary.
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Today in the Gospel, the crowd seeks out Jesus, trying to find out where he went. Why? Because he had multiplied a few loaves to feed 5000 families. ‘You are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled,’ he says. They wanted a bread king, who could produce food for them, so that they wouldn’t have to work, but that’s not why he came. Our Lord wants the people to see that he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. ‘Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.’
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There are two kinds of hunger: there is a physical hunger, but there is also a spiritual hunger, which the pleasures of this world will never satisfy. A person can be a billionaire, but still have an unsatisfied longing, an incompleteness in this life. Not only Jesus’ miracle of the loaves should convince us, but his resurrection from the dead should convince us. No THING, nothing – can save us from death. But Jesus has proven that he is the WAY. He is the way to a New Life, which is stronger than death.

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