Engaging the Gospel – John 6:60-69

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B): Gospel – John 6:60-69

Shocked and scandalized by Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist, many of His disciples left.

This episode is not to be reduced to merely historical reportage, for it presents a fundamental decision point for each and every disciple, of past, present, and future, as Benedict XVI explains:

One might expect Jesus to seek compromises to make Himself better understood, but He does not mitigate what He says. On the contrary, He turns directly to the Twelve and asks them: ‘Will you also go away?’

This provocative question is not only addressed to listeners in his time, but also reaches the believers and people of every epoch.

Today too, many are ‘shocked’ by the paradox of the Christian faith. Jesus’ teaching seems ‘hard,’ too difficult to accept and to put into practice. Then there are those who reject it and abandon Christ; there are those who seek to ‘adapt’ His word to the fashions of the times, misrepresenting its meaning and value. ‘Will you also go away?’

This disturbing provocation resounds in our hearts and expects a personal answer from each one; it is a question addressed to each one of us.

Jesus is not content with superficial and formal belonging, a first and enthusiastic adherence is not enough for Him; on the contrary, what is necessary is to take part for one’s whole life ‘in His thinking and in His willing.’

Angelus of August 23, 2009.

Question for reflection: What has helped me in my wrestling with questions of faith?