View all Gospel Reflections |
Does This Shock You?
Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, speak to me as I turn my hearts to you now in prayer. I long to belong more completely to you by meditating on your word. You have told me that you want to remain in me. You ask me if I wish to leave also, but you are going nowhere. You are right here with me and faithful always. I turn my heart to you and ask you to speak to your servant now. Amen.
- Does This Shock You?: Jesus had just said some pretty mysterious things about bread, blood, life, and death. And he asked his disciples, “Does this shock you?” These words of Christ were objectively hard to hear. To hear and understand Jesus’s teaching in the Gospels–to unlock their deepest meaning–we need to build our faith by inviting the Spirit to speak into our hearts. “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” Come Holy Spirit!
- Lack of Faith: Jesus was not discouraged by the lack of faith among those in the crowd and among the disciples. He attributed it to the plans of the Father—those who were to come to him were those called by the Father. We can imitate Jesus when our plans seem to go awry. All we do, our success and our failures, we offer to the Father, and he will be glorified.
- To Whom Shall We Go: When Jesus turned to his faithful followers to ask if they also wanted to leave him, he abandoned himself to their freedom. He does the same with us. Jesus respects our freedom in each moment and appeals to us to love him. What amazing humility the Son of God demonstrates to reach out to all of humanity with this constant invitation. Peter answers for each one of us—to whom shall we go? Who else can provide all that Jesus gives us?
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, your humility is admirable and attractive, just as Peter’s enthusiasm and honesty are as well. We want to follow you and pray with St. Peter: “To whom shall we go?” There is nowhere else, no one else who we want to follow. We are gladly among those the Father has granted to come to you. Help us follow you more sincerely and passionately!
Resolution: Lord today by your grace I will express my love for you by obeying your teaching, especially those I find particularly difficult to follow.
For Further Reflection: The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”‘ And they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life–the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us–that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing this that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:1-4).
Fr Mark Haydu, LC, is a priest living in Rye, New York. He currently serves as the local New York Chaplain for the Lumen Institute where he offers spiritual coaching to business leaders seeking to integrate faith, character, and leadership: www.lumeninstitute.org. He hails from Akron, Ohio.