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John 6:60-69

The Word of God

When many of his disciples heard it, they said, 'This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?' But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, 'Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, 'For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.'
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.'

John 6:60-69
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • I listen to Jesus asking me “Do you also wish to go away?” I hear the pain in his question. How do I reply?
    • Are there aspects of Jesus’ teaching that I find too difficult to accept? What are they? Can I speak to Jesus honestly about them, and can I be open to hearing what he says in response?
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    • “What about you, do you want to go away too?” The teaching and miracles of Jesus left his hearers with a decision: to believe and follow Jesus or to follow the crowd and go their separate ways. Today is no different: fewer practise their faith and truly open themselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit when they have decisions to make.
    • “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life? If this is truly so, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, then the Lord will surely give us the strength to withstand the jibes, the ridicule and give us the courage to follow our convictions trusting the Lord will be with us to enlighten our decisions and the grace to carry them through. Have you made a decision recently which put you among the Lord’s followers?
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    • We need the gifts of ‘spirit and life’ else we will be like those disciples who no longer went about with Jesus. He was there in front of them but they could not recognise who he really was. We must not think that only some people are given the gift of faith: no, the Spirit is poured out on everyone, and Jesus’ abiding desire is give everyone life to the full.
    • Lord, draw me close to you, and be spirit and life for me.
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    • The words of Jesus causes a split among his followers and some ceased to follow him but it provoked a great act of faith from Peter “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life”; which is comparable to the profession of Martha “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God” (John 11:27).
    • To follow Jesus is to walk forward in faith, understanding that other would-be bearers of truth can never satisfy us. It is to say, whatever happens, “You have the words of eternal life”.
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    • Just when Jesus had fully revealed Himself, when He was at His most vulnerable, people walked away. Can you step into Him and reveal what that must be like, that as soon as you reveal who you really are people can't take you and walk away.
    • Jesus turns to those closest to him, is he in trepidation at being rejected by all? “Do you also wish to go away?" It must have been hugely relieving and confirming to hear the response “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
    • On what grounds do people walk away from Jesus today? How much is He and His message distorted by a flawed Church? To what extent have you walked away from Jesus and what makes you draw near to Him?
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    • Lord, how deeply do I desire this transforming relationship which you offer me? You want to raise me to the level of ‘spirit and life’. St Irenaeus long ago said, ‘The glory of God is the human person fully alive’. I know that I’m only half-alive at best, so here and now I ask you to work on me so that I become more like you. You are fully alive as a human being, and this is because you are totally open to God.
    • Make that happen to me, whatever it takes! Take me by the hand, hold me tight, and bring me along with you. So I shall become like you.
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    • The message of Jesus was revolutionary and challenged those who heard it. Many, including some of his disciples, chose to walk away.
    • Peter’s answer is full of trust. He abandons himself to Christ. If I put myself in Peter’s place, how do I respond to Christ’s question?
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    • The teaching about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is difficult. Believing in it is an act of faith which is a gift of the Father. Like any gift we receive, it is useless unless we use it. We renew our faith each time we kneel in Jesus’ presence and adore him.
    • Jesus did not try to explain away what he had said, even when ‘many of his disciples no longer went about with him’. He knows that he is nothing less than the longed-for divine presence in our world. Lord, deepen my commitment to you and to your Word.
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    • ‘Words of spirit and life.’ I need such words. Daily through time spent at Sacred Space the Gospels unfold for me, and I learn to live by them. The fruit shows according as my thoughts, words and actions radiate good spirit and not bad spirit.
    • Peter finds that Jesus’ words are ‘words of eternal life’. What does this mean? A new and better world is opening up for him, the world of God. He is beginning to see things as Jesus sees them. He is learning to love people as Jesus loves them. His dull predictable life is becoming fresh, surprising and hopeful because of Jesus. And I – what is happening for me?
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    • Dear Peter, for all his failings he speaks in memorable phrases. Lord, to whom can we go? In my faint-hearted moments I hear both Jesus' gentle voice, giving me the freedom to choose, and the strength of Peter's reply: You have the words of eternal life.
    • Maybe Peter repeated these words often to himself, 'you have the message of eternal life'. It can be a mantra of prayer for us, as can other favourite lines from the gospels or bible. The word of God is a personal gift; each of us has our favourite lines that fill our hearts in our time of prayer as we repeat them to ourselves.
    • The gift of Jesus is the life that underpins our human life. He has become one of us so that we become like him. His words lead us into a quality of life which gives meaning, hope and love in all we do. Nobody else can give what Jesus gives - a full meaning of life, seen in the example of his life. Time with him is always time well spent.
    • Love welcomes us to the companionship of Jesus. In the enjoyment and the challenge of such love, would we want to go elsewhere? Some did, and the evidence is that their departure from Jesus did not bring happiness. What Jesus offers reaches deep into all our human desires, joys, tears, laughter and love.
    • Jesus, seeking to lead his hearers beyond dependence on earthly bread, finds himself misunderstood by many of those who had been disciples. They turn back. Am I ever confounded or scandalised by his words? Do I ever turn back?
    • Peter may not understand the full import of what Jesus is saying but he knows what is essential: 'You have the words of eternal life'. To follow Jesus is to walk forward in faith, understanding that other would-be bearers of truth can never satisfy us. It is to say, whatever happens, 'You have the words of eternal life'.