We have been on a journey, which concludes this morning.
The journey explored one of the most challenging teachings in Christianity throughout these centuries, but it begun four weeks ago with the feeding of the 5,000 (God Provides).
The crowd continues to follow Jesus, who begun to question if these people were only seeking for their physical needs and wants to be met through controlling and manipulating Jesus and his miracles. Jesus questions if these people desire the true Bread of Life, the bread that lasts, sustains, nourishes, and transforms them (and us) into the people God has called them (and us) to be (The Nature of Our Quest).
We witness the crowd struggling with Jesus’ teaching. The crowd questions whether Jesus is legitimately talking about his actual, physical flesh and blood. The crowd pushes Jesus “it is not REALLY your body and blood because you are talking metaphorically, right?” (Offending the Crowd).
Jesus continues to insist that he is not speaking metaphorically.
The majority of the crowd left, while other persons closer to Jesus continued but echoing the concerns and thoughts of those who had turned back.
“Is Jesus serious?”
“How can anyone accept this teaching? It goes against everything we have been taught.”
We heard about the struggle of understanding this teaching with our minds and intellect alone verses asking for the divine wisdom to understand. The Eucharistic Mystery (Holy Communion) is a mystery of faith that our intellect alone can not get us from point A to point B of understanding, thus we must trust divine wisdom gained only from God through Jesus the Christ and the Holy Spirit (Fed by Wisdom).
Jesus is aware of the conversation and their struggles, thus Jesus pushes them as he did the crowd before asking “does this offend you?”.
The followers respond:
“Well, Yes. Who would not be offended?”
“Who can accept this teaching? It is crazy!”
Jesus reinforced the need for his disciples to consume his body and blood.
Afterwards, only the inner-most circle of Jesus’ twelve disciples remain.
Jesus pushes these disciples,
“Are you offended?”
“Do you find this teaching too difficult?”
“Do you want to leave? If so, there is the door.”
Peter (the Rock) professes a statement of faith in this moment,
BUT I do wonder if perhaps we read it a little too pious.
We must remember:
Peter, as well as all the disciples, had left everything behind in order to follow Christ:
their work, their family, their earthly possessions.
AND their travels are through the desert.
Peter responds: “Lord, to whom shall we go.”
I wonder at times if Peter’s statement sounded like:
“Well, where else am I gonna go? I have no other option”.
But, Peter’s next statement is:
“You have the Words of eternal life. We know you are the Holy One of God.”
Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
We have been proclaiming these words prior to our Gospel texts during this journey.
It seems that this time Peter (the Rock) might be named for his firm foundation of faith instead of being as dense as one.
You have the words of eternal life. You are the Holy One of God.
Peter (and us) might not understand the Eucharistic Mystery.
It might offend all of his (and our) senses and intellect.
BUT Peter knew Jesus has the words of eternal life.
Peter knew Jesus was the Holy One of God.
Peter could not turn away from Jesus now.
My challenge and hope is that we ponder our understanding, insight, and wisdom gained about partaking in the body and blood of Christ (Holy Communion) and how it nourishes, sustains, transforms, and sends us out into the world to act as Christ for the sake of ALL our neighbors.
I invite you into that mystery. I invite you to ponder:
How can we (I) accept this difficult teaching?
May we proclaim and echo the words of Saint Peter from centuries ago:
“Lord you have the worlds of eternal life, you are the Holy One of God.
Where else would I go?”.