Homily for the twenty-first Sunday of the year - Year B - Jn. 6:60-69


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

" Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, 'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?' But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, 'Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.' For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.'


" After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.' "




Homily:


" Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, 'This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?'"


In today's gospel, those who disagree with Jesus are not people who have never believed in him, but rather some of his disciples, several of whom, after having followed the Master of Life for a while, abandon him and stop following him. So this lesson is one that is addressed to believers, a lesson meant to warn us of our weakness: like the disciples who abandoned the Lord, we too might be tempted to leave the way of faith! But let us not be afraid! Instead, let us see what remedies Jesus intends to place at our disposal in order to keep us from stumbling!


" But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, 'Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before?' "


The first remedy provided by Jesus is a warning that, later on, we may encounter things or events that will be even more difficult for us to believe. So, if we already believe that Jesus is the living Bread which came down from Heaven, it is in our best interest to remain firm in this belief, for this is what will enable us later on to believe in some other event that Jesus might accomplish in person. So the disciples of the Lord were thus invited to remain firm in their belief in the Bread of Life, for it is this that would allow them, later on, to believe in the Ascension of Christ.


" And he said, 'This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.' "


The second remedy provided by Jesus is a reminder of the Father's Love for all those who go to his Son. Thus, if we have already gone to Jesus and believed in him, it is because, in his infinite mercy, the Father drew us to his Son. If we believe in Jesus, the living Bread which came down from Heaven, it is because the Father loves us infinitely. So may the Father's Love for us be the motive of our perseverance in our faith in Christ, true God and true Man, Bread of eternal Life and almighty Redemption through the wood of the Cross!


" Jesus said to the twelve, 'Do you also wish to go away?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.' "


The faith of Peter and the Apostles is the third remedy given to us by Jesus in order that we might persevere in faith. Others before us believed in the Bread of Life, others believed in the incarnate Son of God who gives his life for the salvation of the world! Today, our faith is not built on sand but on rock: on Peter! And Peter is always with us, the faith of Peter accompanies us today just as it will tomorrow: the Pope is always there to support and protect our faith! Thus, after Pope Saint Leo the Great had proclaimed his declaration concerning the two natures - divine and human - of the person of Christ, those who heard his words exclaimed: " Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo!"


" We have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."


Jesus is the Holy One of God! He comes into us to sanctify us, to make us new men, to enable us to participate in his own life! So let us receive him with love, faith and hope! Let us receive the Holy Eucharist in order to strengthen our faith in this Bread that came down from Heaven and that saves the world! May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary help us to believe forever in her Son Jesus!



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