August 22, 2015
21st Sunday - B
The Words of Eternal Life
For five weeks now we have listened to almost the whole Chapter 6 from the Gospel According to John.
The disciples have been present since the beginning of this chapter. Each of them must have had his own beginning in his following of Jesus. Nevertheless, they all have witnessed the power of Jesus as he multiplied the five loaves and two fish to feed the five thousand people. They also saw him walking on the sea (though we did not listen to this portion of Chapter 6).
Many may have followed Jesus because they have seen the signs he performed. But in John's understanding, the faith based on seeing signs is weak and superficial.
Earlier in this chapter, it was the crowd, then “the Jews” (referring to those Jews who opposed Jesus) who had a hard time accepting Jesus' words.
Now, it is some of the disciples who find Jesus' saying “hard,” and they no longer accompany him.
Peter and the Twelve, on the contrary, recognize Jesus' words are “the words of eternal life.”
These opposite reactions to Jesus' words bring us back to the words in the Prologue of John's Gospel, “to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name.” (1:12)