Gospel Reflections

21st Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 6:60-69

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Virginia Egwuchukwu

Published: August 23, 2015

Read John 6:60-69

Many of Jesus' disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said... Read More…


Something prompted the disciples of Jesus to say that, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Jesus had been telling the Jews that he is the bread of life; it is different from the bread that their forefathers ate in the desert because they died. His own flesh and blood is salvation for them and they must eat and drink it. If they do this, he will raise them up on the last day and also give them eternal life. Jesus also said that people who do come to him hear the call from his Father. This teaching is hard to accept and comprehend for the Jews and for some of Jesus’ disciples. It is difficult to listen and believe in Jesus’ words because human beings feel at home with good experiences rather than things in the abstract. Nevertheless, with maturity, we have good and bad experiences in life which enable us to see God’s help for our growth and gratefulness. In our living each day, we grow in knowledge of our world. In hearing the word of Jesus, openness brings a greater appreciation and understanding of the wisdom of Jesus’ teaching.

In this Gospel passage, Jesus asks his disciples “Does this shock you?” Jesus, as man, acts with the power of God. He asks his disciples again: Suppose you see the Son of Man going back to a place from which he came, what will you do? It seems that, Jesus is expressing the purpose for which he came into the world. He then indicates that his words are Spirit and Life. For us also, when we act on the word of God, we often discover a new spirit which gives also new life. The words of Jesus to us in each Gospel offer spirit and life, even until our dying days.

Some personal thoughts enable us to focus the Gospel
• The word feeds body and soul when a person feels empty and vulnerable.
• The word keeps an individual working in the vineyard of God.
• The word of Jesus soothes one’s in-most being to trust God and believe that all will be well with a family or friends, because God cares for them all.
• The word encourages a person to take risks in life with hope in the merciful love of God.

The Epilogue to the Constitution of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur testifies that our lives are based on the word of Jesus. St. Julie Billiart also advised us to carry the word of God in our hearts and minds, and to be always active and alive in the abiding and humble presence of Jesus.

In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that his Father is the one who draws us to Himself. Jesus points to the way while the Holy Spirit leads us to the way through conversion of heart. We as Christians can find that the word of God can be disturbing in calling us to be and to do more. Jesus calls his hearers to be open-minded. He even asks the disciples who remain: “Do you also want to leave?" Then Peter speaks with a conviction that reminds each and every one of us of the power of God to help us in difficult situations. Peter’s profession strengthens our conviction of Jesus’ presence. As Christians, with his grace, we draw new life from Jesus who sustains us. We move ahead, not looking back, and keep our hands on the plough, in proclaiming the Gospel message in our time.

 

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