Saturday, March 20th
In the passages immediately preceding these Jesus had been teaching about his being the bread of life and exhorting his followers to “eat his flesh” and “drink his blood.” Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” Many of the disciples do not understand what Jesus has come to do as it is represented by “flesh and blood” passages—namely that He has come to die for His people. While these passages are disturbing if taken literally, even for those disciples who may understand that the passages are a metaphor for accepting the death of Jesus, they prove to be “a hard saying.”
The text says, “Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit[a] and life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them. 66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Life has a way of slapping us around sometimes. We lose friends and loved ones and pets. We have health problems that cause much suffering. But when we participate in the Eucharist we are reminded of Jesus’ suffering and death for us and are comforted by the knowledge that Jesus is with us in our suffering. Because of His words of eternal life, we need no longer fear death. That is good news indeed.