A reading from the gospel according to John 6:60-69
60 After hearing it, many of his followers said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’
61 Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this disturb you?
62 What if you should see the Son of man ascend to where he was before?
63 ‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.
64 ‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset who did not believe and who was to betray him.
65 He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me except by the gift of the Father.’
66 After this, many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more.
67 Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’
68 Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life,
69 and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.’
Reflection: To Whom Shall we go?
Good News: Jesus has the message of eternal life.
In many gospel passages, we read about crowd following Jesus. In the last remaining verses of John chapter 6, we read that many people walked away because they find Jesus’ teaching about the “Bread of Life” as intolerable and unacceptable. Some of them went on to plot His death.
This is what happens if people do not have faith. We need faith in order to understand and accept the message of salvation. Thanks be to God, Peter and the other apostles stood by Jesus. It is because they believed in Him even if they only have little understanding of what their master was teaching about.
It is very important that we cleanse our thoughts of pre-conceived ideas. It is much more important that we develop our heart and mind as fertile ground where the Word of God can be planted and grow. Else, we are like some of the followers of Jesus who were “disturbed” and just distanced themselves from Him.
Indeed, there are many teachings of Jesus that are difficult to accept especially when they affect the things we hold dear like our business or relationship. They don’t like Jesus to interfere with their worldly activities. As a result, some people become part-time believers or even full-time unbelievers.
Jesus has the words of eternal life. If we want to have eternal life, let us listen to Him wholeheartedly without any reservation. Yet we cannot go to Him unless the Father leads us. For faith and understanding is a gift from above. Let us pray then that our Father in heaven grant us a welcoming and faithful heart and that Jesus may become the King in all aspects of our life.
“Do you also wish to go away?” When Jesus asks of us this question, may our answer be like Peter: “To whom shall we go?”
The teachings of Jesus are not easy. That’s for sure. Loving your enemies is not easy. Being perfect is almost impossible. Dying to self is unacceptable. More importantly, eating His body and drinking His blood is totally unimaginable. As a result, many of His disciples stopped following Him so they went back to their old ways of life. Even today, a lot of people cannot accept His teachings. Others initially become Christians and when they could not entirely live out what is expected of them, they revert to their former way of life.
Jesus is asking us, “Do you also want to leave?” Do you want quit? Not all people have strong faith. Some of us are easily swayed by our personal needs, wants, biases and whims. We also have our defense mechanisms in place. When we encounter people or situations which are unpalatable tour tastes and world views, we tend to reject them outright without first trying to understand. Yet when we allow the Holy Spirit to move within us, we will be drawn to our Father through Jesus.
There is this saying: When the going gets tough, only the tough gets going. As we walk on rough roads, it is easy to turn back and resume our former way of life. May the Holy Spirit grant us the strength to hold on to our faith despite the temptation to give up. We should maintain the habit of no turning back! We already have come this far. Jesus has the words of eternal life. Let’s keep walking towards His Kingdom.