Sunday, August 26, 2018
Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” John 6:66-69
As a result of what? As a result of Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist “many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” The Eucharist was the deepest and most beautiful teaching Jesus had given, but for some it was more than they could handle. So many left Him. But this passage also reveals the beautiful faith of the Apostles, especially Peter.
First of all, Jesus does not back down in any way from His beautiful and very deep teaching on the Holy Eucharist. What He said He stands behind, namely, that “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you” (John 6:53). He goes on to say, “For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink” (John 6:55).
From there, Jesus turns to His disciples and gives them the freedom to accept or reject what He just taught. This freedom He gives to them is essential to them entering into authentic faith. If Jesus would have pressured or manipulated the disciples, it would have been hard for them to freely choose to accept Him and all He taught.
The same is true with us. Jesus does not require us to follow Him. He will not force or manipulate us into believing. He will not pressure us. Rather, Jesus offers Himself and His teachings and invites us to believe.
Within this context, Peter makes a profound statement of faith. “Master, to whom shall we go?” In other words, Peter was saying, “Lord, even if the teaching is hard, and even if it is unpopular to follow you, and even if we must suffer, be rejected, be misunderstood…you are the best option.” Think about it. What other option even comes close to the option of accepting the full and deep teachings of Jesus? Is it better to only take part of what He says? Doing that is a form of rejection of Him.
Peter gives us the witness of one who has come to believe that there is only one good option in life. That option is the choice to follow Jesus no matter what. Nothing in life is worth choosing over Christ. We should strive to discover this truth that He is the only one worth choosing.
Reflect, today, upon these words of Peter. “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Jesus is God, the Messiah and Savior. He has the words of everlasting life. He is the best “option” to choose. Say those words of Peter and, in saying them, make the choice to choose Him no matter how popular that choice is and no matter if others are making it. Going with the flow leads us down the wrong river. Making the right choice sets us on solid ground.
Lord, there is no place for me to go other than You and Your way. You are the Lord of all and You are the Messiah. I choose You and accept all that You have taught. Jesus, I trust in You.