The Gospel reading for the 21st Sunday of the Year, in Year B, is the conclusion of the Church’s reading of Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel, the Bread of Life discourse.
It reminds us, who may be suffering from wallpaper syndrome, of the extraordinary claims of the Church regarding faith, Eucharist, life. (Wallpaper syndrome? We’ve got so used to somethimg, we don’t really notice it’s there any more.)
‘The Gospel turns things upside down, so we might see them the right way up’ said Cardinal Hume.
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.’
- What challenges or disturbs you as a disciple of Christ?
- What makes you wish to remain a disciple of Christ?
- What guidance would you offer to those who might be drawn away from him?
Window depicting St Peter, in the Catholic church at Lindisfarne. © 2008, Allen Morris.