XXI ORDINARY TIME B :John 6:60-69
– by Fr. Fabien, sx
Three Sundays ago, we meditated on Jesus’ teachings about the “Bread of life.” The Jews did not follow Jesus not because He was teaching the word of God but because they ate and filled their stomachs. When Jesus spoke about the bread of life, they thought that He was speaking about the material bread. They asked Him to give them that bread always. When Jesus affirmed that He is the living bread, and this bread is His flesh which is the real food and his blood, the real drink, the Jews murmured “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Even the disciples did not understand what Jesus said or meant. They were also murmuring, “Who can accept it?” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him. Seeing this, Jesus asked, “Do you also want to leave?” However, Peter answered: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
The same thing happens to us: we abandon the Lord because of our misunderstanding, our spiritual blindness, because of our hard-heartedness, our weaknesses, because of discouragement and disappointments caused by different situations of our life. When we are sometimes flooded by difficulties and sufferings, we tend to abandon the Lord because of his silence; we think the Lord is absent and does not see our situations, so we blaspheme and grumble. We are often tempted to abandon the Master and his way of life and choose to live a life less demanding which we think will bring more satisfaction. All of us, like disciples of Jesus, are tempted to regress to our former way of life: the way of slavery to sin, of darkness and death. We ignore that leaving Jesus would be shortsighted.
Peter asked: “To whom shall we go O Lord?”Where else shall we go far away from your face of God?
Far away from God’s presence is not only unhappiness but also death; far away from God, we encounter sadness, shortage,division, distress, cries, trials, lack of peace…
Peter answered on behalf of the other apostles and also on our behalf, “To whom shall we go o Lord? You have the words of eternal life;” you are the life for us, the real joy and peace, the true and unending happiness. We are convinced that you are the Holy One of God. We are the generation of those who seek the face of God (Ps 24:6; 27:8)
That is why, in the first reading, Joshua invited the people to make a choice, to decide TODAY who they will serve and follow: the God of Israel or other gods, false gods who are blind, dumb and deaf. Every choice entails the requirements and consequences. If you choose to serve other gods, then, accept the consequence that is death. If you choose the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, accept also the requirements: obedience to his will and laws, accept the cross that leads to the resurrection and eternal life.
Joshua and his family have already made their choice to serve the Lord. We, too, are called to serve the Lord with our whole family right now, presently now.We are also called to choose this fundamental option of life: life in Jesus, for Jesus, and with Jesus, the Word of Life, there is real life and joy in Him.