Let’s be honest. How many of us believe in Christ not so much because of who he is than what we hope to get out of it – a new car, a nice job, true love? We say our prayers, sometimes according to some set formula, and do all the holy stuff because in doing that God will fulfil his side of our ‘bargain’.
That’s one approach. The other is a kind of eternal life insurance. We say our prayers out of fear of damnation after death. Faced with a variety of options, we lose least and potentially gain more by doing the holy thing. That ‘wager’ I just described is described and defended by a famous French philosopher, Blaise Pascal.
If your search for the risen Christ is rooted in either or both of these, don’t feel too embarrassed. We’ve all tried it at some time in our lives.
The challenge in today’s gospel, however, is to seek Christ for who he is, not what he can give us. Not loaves and fish, but himself – who he is, and with that the free invitation to follow him.
And if we do end up with a decent car, a nice job and true love that is just good luck on our part!