After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it? (John 6:60)
Jesus gives everyone the opportunity of accepting or rejecting him. This is the ultimate choice we are all faced with. At the same time, faith is a gift.
He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.
This looks like it is up to God the Father to decide whether anyone will accept Jesus or not, based on the quality of men’s hearts. This is why prayer is so important. Pray, pray, pray for your loved ones – and your enemies – to receive the gift of faith. Spend more time praying, and less time arguing. Spend more time telling others about Christ, and less time criticizing their morals and feeling self-righteous. You can’t expect atheists and agnostics to have a coherent system of morality unless they are grounded in Christ first. At the same time, you need to show how Christ is living and active in your life first – ask him to live in you and help you find the words to present Christ to everyone you come into contact with. And if you are readings this and don’t have faith but are intrigued by the idea of it being a gift, tell God you are open to him giving you any gifts he wants.
God gives the gift of faith to the twelve that remain with him, especially to Peter, who declares:
Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.
Peter doesn’t understand what Jesus has been talking about through most of chapter 6, but he has seen his miracles and heard his wisdom and loved him as a person, and that’s enough for him and enough for God. God can build on that openness of heart. But he can’t build on closed-minded arrogance (… although he can break down a person’s arrogance – I have a great story about that, but that will have to be a message for another day).
Today’s readings (Australia):
Word format:Year B 21st Sunday 2015
Pdf format: Year B 21st Sunday 2015
For a more detailed commentary on today’s Gospel, listen to Fr Barron’s homily for today. The Catholic interpretation of the Eucharist is deeply Christ-centred. If you have ever had a Protestant brother say to you, “ah, but the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63), then you need to listen to this.
And for a Scripture Study on these readings, go to Michael Barber’s commentary here.