Gospel – John 6:60-69
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”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.”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Chapter 6 of John’s gospel ends with a challenge from Jesus to his disciples. He challenges their FAITH, FIDELITY and FRATERNITY. “Then many of his disciples who had been listening said, ‘This is a hard saying. Who can accept it?’ Jesus knew from the beginning who would not believe.” Jesus’ question, “What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? Would that make you believe?” If you cannot believe in me, the Bread of Life, how can you believe I came from the father? Jesus goes on to speak of the Spirit. the giver of life, the power to relate to Jesus in FAITH, FIDELITY and FRATERNITY.
The disciples have seen the miracle of the loaves and fish, witnessed Jesus walking on the water, and heard the discourse on the Bread of Life. Many, however, find the words of Jesus impossible and because their faith was week or non-existent could not be faithful so they left him. It is not information or doctrine that makes a disciple, but a Spirit-filled response to God as revealed by Jesus.
Never-the-less another response is possible. Jesus now challenges the Twelve. This is the first time they are mentioned as a group in the gospel of John. He asks them, “Do you want to leave?” Peter answers for them all as he does in the Synoptic gospels. His question sounds like an abandoned orphan, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Then he answers his own question, “You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the holy one of God.” This is the only time in the entire gospel of John that this title is used in reference to Jesus. Peter’s affirmation is the Apostles’ response to the truth of the discourse on the Bread of Life. The holiness of Jesus and the truth of the teaching come from the fact that he is the Son of God. Jesus has chosen the Twelve and they respond in FAITH and FIDELITY demonstrating that they are a true FRATERNITY.
De La Salle, in his meditation for the feast of Saint Peter, June 29 (MD139) says:
“It should not be surprising that Saint Peter was so dearly loved by Jesus Christ and that Our Lord established him as head of his Church. It was his great faith that won for him this honor, the faith which led him to renounce all things to follow Jesus Christ and to give himself completely to him. Do you have a faith that is such that it is able to touch the hearts of your students and to inspire them with the Christian spirit? This is the greatest miracle you could perform and the one God asks of you, for this is the purpose of your work.”
In the Method of Interior Prayer, De La Salle writes the following:
“Come, Holy Spirit, and take possession of my heart and so guide my actions, that I may be able to say that they are the works of your hands rather than mine, and that my whole being, in each of its functions, is entirely dependent on your good pleasure. Blessed will I be when I no longer live or act but by the Spirit of God. Then will I be able to say, ‘It is no longer I who live, but Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit who live in me. (EMO, page 38)”
I wish to refer you to the series of Meditations of De La Salle for the feast of Corpus Christi and its octave: Meditations for Sundays and Feasts numbers 47-55.
Brother Malachy Broderick, FSC
St. John’s College Community
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.