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AUGUST 22 Ord Time B. Wk 21. Sun. Jn 6. 60-69

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?


‘It is the spirit that gives life,

the flesh has nothing to offer.

The words I have spoken to you are spirit

and they are life.


‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.


Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’


It is important to understand “his doctrine,” which is described as ‘intolerable language’ at the outset of today’s reading refers to Christ’s teaching on the Eucharist; - ‘unless you eat my flesh, and drink my blood, you cannot have life in you,’ - a saying many found hard to believe.


It is interesting to note how Jesus responded to this lack of faith, in that he gives advance notice of his Ascension into heaven. He was not concerned with the lack of faith being demonstrated (Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it!) but he needed to give a response that would prove the truth of what he was revealing. As a result, he advised of his ascension in advance; - in order to bear witness to his divinity.


After advising of his ascension, he then discusses the importance of faith and the spiritual life when he says ‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer”. I prefer to equate this with ‘it is faith that gives life, the body has nothing to offer’; - the meaning being our earthly body is incapable of understanding divine truths such as the Eucharist; - but only Faith.


The truths I have spoken to you relate to the spiritual life; - and so they give eternal life!”


Jesus then moves on and discusses the need for Faith and makes the important point that the ability to believe divine truths is a gift from the Father; - “I told you, no one can come to me unless the Father allows him.” This is a truth often taken for granted in that we credit ourselves with “having Faith”; - rather than seeing it as a divine gift.


“After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him” so Jesus turned to his twelve Apostles and asked them if they wanted to do the same. “Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know you are the Holy One of God.’


This Gospel highlights the importance of Faith and how, without it, we cannot live the spiritual life, as human beings, alone, are unable to believe many of the divine truths revealed by Christ.


Gospel Acclamation cf John 6:63. 68


Alleluia, alleluia!

Your words, Lord, are spirit and life:

you have the words of everlasting life.

Alleluia!




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