'Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.' Sunday Reflections, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

Saint Peter, El Greco, 1610-13 [Web Gallery of Art]
Monasterio de San Lorenzo, El Escorial, Madrid 
John 6:60-69 (NRV, Catholic Edition, Canada) 

When many of Jesus’ 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.”

This Sunday's gospel concludes the Eucharistic Discourse of Chapter 6 of St John's Gospel. The teaching of Jesus that many of his disciples could not accept was what we heard last Sunday: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood. 
St Peter today speaks on behalf of those who stay with Jesus: 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.
In his Angelus audience last Sunday Pope Francis spoke these words which are very relevant to today's gospel. I have highlighted parts of the text.

 Today's passage (Jn. 6, 51-58) presents the last part of that discourse, and refers to some of those among the people who are scandalized because Jesus said: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day" (Jn. 6,54).
The astonishment of those listening is understandable; in fact,Jesus uses the typical style of the prophets to provoke in the people – and also in us – questions and, in the end, to make a decision. The first of the questions is: What does "eat Jesus' flesh and drink his blood" mean? Is it only an image, a way of saying, a symbol, or does it indicate something real? To answer this, one needs to guess what is happening in Jesus' heart while he breaks the bread for the hungry crowd. ....

Full post here. [Sorry for being late!]

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