In today’s Gospel we finish with John’s 6th chapter known as the Bread of Life discourse. We see where those who were ready to proclaim Jesus king just days before are now turning from Him because of His message. “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” we hear those around Him say. Christ’s message of eating His flesh and drinking His blood, in order to have life eternal, was repugnant to their sensibilities and heretical to their way of understanding their faith. The Jewish laws spoke sternly about blood, and eating human flesh was abominable. So in the span of a few spoken words they turned from their savior and they “returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.”
In a way those who turned from Jesus’ words are not any different from many of our friends and family – of our society in general. The message of Christ; proclaimed by His bride Holy Mother Church isn’t what they want to hear – it isn’t what they expect their messiah to say. It doesn’t meet with their vision of salvation. It isn’t the God they want!
The Gospel message of salvation and Love is not comfortable and easy – it is radical and intrusive on our lives. We are meant to change if we dare to follow. I believe that it this reason why so many in society ridicule and attack our faith. They find it too hard and therefore deny its value. They attack any and all who proclaim it fearlessly because it just might become popular. They try to push it to the back of society so that it will have no effect.
Then there are those within our faith, walking beside us, that shrink from the reaction of society. They try to put Christ’s teaching within the trendy and fashionable ideas of our times. They water-down the message so it seems more palatable – rationalize it with the modern mindset of relativism. In short, they try to take the Word and make it likeable.
Brothers and sisters, I ask each of you, within your hearts – is this what Christ wants? Does He want us to take the truth and change it so that it is more acceptable to everyone? Does He want us to take His message and make it easy to follow; or does He want us to proclaim the Truth? Do we want to be liked by those around us at the risk of our and their eternal salvation; or do we, like St Peter, say to Christ “You have the words of eternal life.We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” and so, become in our generation a voice for God and proclaim the Way, the Truth and the Life.
On the front door of our home is a plaque with my answer which we heard in our first reading from Joshua: “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” How about you?