Jesus, teach me to trade fairly with friends — and to just believe in you, without trying to bargain! Amen.

“Do a miracle, and we’ll believe in you,” a crowd told Jesus. “Moses gave starving people bread from heaven, once. What can you do?” Jesus answered: “Only God gives bread from heaven. God sent me — I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me and believes in me will never be hungry or thirsty.”

Do you ever make trades with other kids? If your friend is tired of his Lego kit and you have an extra “Star Wars” DVD, there may be a solution: Trade! With your parents’ permission, you and your friend can happily swap stuff and get something you like better.

Trading can be a great idea for snacks, clothes or toys — as long as it’s a fair trade. If you were offering a friend your “Star Wars” DVD and she only offered some old junk in return, that wouldn’t be fair. You’d have to bargain: to ask for something more, so the trade would be even.

This week’s Gospel (John 6:24-35) talks about bargaining. In this case, though, people are trying to bargain with Jesus! They’re offering to “trade” their loyalty: to follow Jesus only if He does a miracle for them. They even argue that Moses gave people food when they were starving in the desert, so Jesus should give even more.

Trading doesn’t always work out. It can cause hurt feelings when one person believes they didn’t get enough. When Jesus heard people saying they would have faith in Him only if He performed miracles, He must have felt hurt. It wasn’t fair to bargain with God, who does so much for everyone.

That’s what Jesus reminded them. He said that God had sent Him from heaven, and whoever believed in Him would go to heaven someday. People needed to stop trying to trade their faith for a miracle, and just believe.

Trades with friends can be great, as long as everyone is satisfied with what they get. But Jesus taught us that trying to bargain with God is not a good idea!