“...He withdrew again to the mountain alone.”
For more than a week, beginning today, our Gospel passage at weekday Mass will come from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel account. Read this chapter every day next week.
In the first fifteen verses of John 6, Jesus shows his fellow Israelites that the Law of Moses is not enough, cannot fulfill the human person, and cannot offer eternal life. The people in the crowd who witness this new miracle of Jesus multiplying the loaves are attracted all the more to Jesus. They recognize Jesus as the Prophet, one even greater than Moses, who can be their king in this world.
But what does Jesus instantly do? He withdraws to the mountain alone. Moses in the desert responded to the grumbling of the Israelites by drawing manna from heaven. But this did not stop their grumbling. Throughout the forty years of their wandering through the desert, Moses had constantly to meet the needs of the Israelites as they continued to grumble. It was as if Moses was the only one who could truly keep sight of their true goal, the Promised Land, a land overflowing with milk and honey, where there would be no more hunger, where they would be truly filled.
But even after the Israelites reached this Promised Land, they grew over the centuries to believe that their life there was the best God had to offer. They did not realize that their covenant with God was about to be replaced with a new and everlasting covenant. They did not realize that the Word of God, present in the Scriptures, had become flesh and was standing in their midst, offering to lead them towards eternal life.