This Sunday’s pericope concludes the Bread of Life Discourse. In it we will hear that Jesus, once again, encounters murmuring in response to his claim that he is The Bread Come Down From Heaven; the Bread of Life. However, this time it is his own disciples who are murmuring, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
At the heart of all religion there must be mystery, for the simple reason that at that heart there is God. In the nature of things man cannot ever fully understand God.
Jesus was well aware that some would not only reject his claim but would reject it with hostility.
When he was in Jerusalem many saw his miracles and believed in his name; many were baptized. In Samaria and Galilee great things happened and crowds flocked after him.
But the tone of things changed.
There was defection. Some turned back and walked with Jesus no more. They saw he was headed toward a confrontation with authorities and they were getting out in time; they were fair-weather followers. Fundamentally, their point of view was that they had come to Jesus to get something from him but when it came to suffering for him, giving something to him, they quit.
We also hear of determination and conviction in this passage. It is John’s version of Peter’s great confession at Caesarea Philippi (see also Mark 8:27; Matthew 16:13; Luke 9:18). It was just such a situation as this, a moment of decision, that called out the loyalty in Peter’s heart. To him the simple fact was that there was no one else to go to. Jesus alone had the words of life.
Peter’s loyalty was based on a personal relationship with Jesus. There were, most likely, many things he did not understand and was just as bewildered and puzzled as anyone else but Peter had something else – a personal relationship with Jesus.
In the last analysis Christianity/discipleship is not a philosophy which we accept nor a theory to which we give our allegiance. It is a personal response to Jesus. It is the allegiance and the love which a person gives because his heart will not allow him to do anything else.
To whom shall we go?
To Him who has the words of eternal life. Ponder them!
Liturgy of the Word | 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Director of Adult Formation