In this Sunday’s Gospel there is a small phrase with, may I suggest, huge meaning.
The Gospel (John 6: 24 – 35), speaks of the crowd, “got into the boats and found him on the other side.”
I think I can safely say that the phrase is indicative of a journey from one side of the lake to the other. And maybe that motif is being asked of each of us, namely ‘to cross over’ to find him on the other side.
When we consider the First Reading for this Sunday (Ex. 16: 2 – 4, 12 – 15), this is precisely the situation of the Israelites. They have ‘crossed over’ the Red Sea and are in the desert, wandering and complaining, wanting to return to Egypt!
The motif of crossing over and entering the wilderness has been described by the author Joseph Campbell as The Hero’s Journey.
In his study of different cultures, Campbell found an amazingly similar motif played out in the culture’s foundational story, and while details altered (for example the threshold might be a river, a sea, a forest, a mountain range) the fundamentals were unerringly similar.