During the past month we have been reading and reflecting on the 6th Chapter of the fourth Gospel; the Gospel of St John. Today we read the final verses of that 6th chapter. In these final verses we are told that the people who were following Jesus, His disciples, were confronted with an ultimate choice: to accept Jesus as a person sent from God, or to reject him as just an ordinary human being, albeit another prophet or soothsayer.
Having told the disciples that He is the “Bread come down from Heaven” many of them found such a statement intolerable and unbelievable.
This is a dilemma each and every one of us must face. Is Jesus just another holy man – a clever holy man – who lived and died in the first century? Or is Jesus actually a part of the life of God – fully human and fully divine? That’s the question we are ultimately forced to answer.
In this 6th chapter of St John’s Gospel Jesus unmistakably and at length asked for faith in himself as sent by God – as the “bread of life” – as the human person in whom God reveals Himself.
Many of his followers at that time, like many people in these times, refused to accept Jesus for who he really was and who he really is.
“This is intolerable language” many people said – and many people still say. St John’s Gospel describes how many of his followers left him. They walked away.
Then Jesus turned to his apostles and asked, “What about you?”-“Are you going to walk away too!” Peter answers with a great declaration of loyalty and faith. He says “You are the Holy One of God”.
We are asked the same question every time we attend Mass. We are invited, every time we come here, to also make a great declaration of loyalty and faith. It is worth doing because it leads to resurrection and new life!