Gospel Reflection: Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute



AUGUST 23, 2015

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Your words, Lord are Spirit and life;

You have the words of everlasting life.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Gospel of Saint 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 to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.  The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.  And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”  As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. 

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”  Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Gospel of the Lord



Murmuring; murmuring; murmuringComplaining; complaining; complainingThis saying is hard; who can accept it?  It is not just disciples of long ago who complain when encountering something challenging in following Jesus.  Somehow the human community thinks that if they believe in God, God ought to reward them with smooth sailing.   Yet, Scripture repeatedly proclaims that God’s wisdom is superior to us and that what we need to do is Trust – place our Faith in Jesus!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55: 8-9)

Which saying was hard?

It seems that it is not just one saying, but the whole message, namely, that Jesus is the fullness of God: the bread of God’s Wisdom; the Word of God come down from heaven; and the Eucharistic bread of lifewhoever eats this bread will live forever.  We are invited to consume Jesus and only Jesus — to draw all our nourishment and life from Jesus, and Jesus alone.  Jesus is Life: The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.

So quick are we to believe the messengers of the world, and how slow we are to grasp the pledges and promises of God.  We believe the one selling car insurance, the one offering bank loans, and the one providing medical advice, but the Holy One of God is hard to believe!   Yet, in Baptism our Heavenly Father gifted us with ears to hear and eyes to see.  We have the grace granted him (us) by my Father.

Saint Peter is such a great example of a disciple: one day full of confidence in Jesus, and the next day filled with confusion and doubt.   A good disciple is not without confusion and doubt.   Disciples are a combination of Faith & Doubt like Peter.  But disciples never leave the side of JesusMaster, to whom shall we go?

Confusion is not remedied by listening to another master.  Doubt is not resolved by following another one.   It is only by daily reading and meditating on God’s Word that God provides understanding and enlightenment — for only You (Lord) have the words of eternal life.  It is only by devotion to Sunday Eucharist that God can give Himself to us – unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.

By staying close to Jesus in WORD & EUCHARIST we too can make Peter’s words our own:  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God!



Consider joining the Men and Women of Malvern by deepening your personal relationship with Jesus and your commitment as a disciple through a weekend retreat.  See our website for details: MalvernRetreat.com


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