Today we contemplate again how Christ desires to share Himself with us – Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
Reflections on the readings for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 22, 2021): JOS 24:1-2,15,18; PS 34:2-3,16-17,18-19,20-21; EPH 5:21-32; JN 6:60-69
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Faith is a gift from the Father. We can choose to embrace it, but we cannot create it for ourselves.
For the third time this month, we concentrate on Christ’s Bread of Life discourse from the Gospel according to St. John. Jesus has been preaching to His crowd of followers about the gift He is offering them – His own being. Many listeners can neither understand or accept what He tells them. His very body and blood as true food and drink? The idea is too much, too bizarre, too overwhelming for them. Yet our Savior does not try to water down His message. He asks if He has shocked them. Then He immediately asks what they would think if He ascended to the place where He came from. Jesus is proclaiming His divinity by asserting that He really has come down from heaven and that He will return there. He makes it clear that believing in Him is not something they can do on their own. Faith is a gift from the Father. We can choose to embrace it, but we cannot create it for ourselves. A number of those in the crowd turned around and walked back into “their former way of life.” How sad that sounds after everything those people had heard our Lord proclaim, all the miracles they had seen Him do, all the compassion they had felt from His heart was just not enough.
At that challenging point, Christ asked His closest disciples and friends what they wanted. “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 6:67-69). Peter, who so often seemed to get things wrong, was at that moment inspired with the truth: No one else has the words of life everlasting. No one else is God’s Holy One. Only Jesus. They do not need to seek out another person or place or thing. He Himself is the answer. And Peter’s question to Christ rings down the ages: “To whom shall we go?” Now it is our turn to answer. We get to decide if we go back or if we go forward. To whom… to whom?