Jesus’ challenge to the crowd following him around is just as pertinent for us today. They liked listening to him, but they liked getting fed as well.

Thousands of years ago, the Roman emperors learned that they could control the people in the cities by providing “bread and circuses.” Our basest instincts are that we want to be fed and entertained. The challenge from Jesus is not to look for those things from him. He wants those people and us to believe in him, which means that he wants them and us to do what he does, and to love who he loves. He is not interested in doing tricks for them even though that seems to be what they want.

A challenge from today’s Gospel is a twist on JFK’s inauguration speech. Ask not what God can do for you, but what you can do for God.

What will you do for God—for the world—today?

—Fr. James Prehn, S.J., Vocations Director for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.