“Whom shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life.”
Failure, rejection and isolation: these are the themes of today’s remarkable Gospel ‑ but they are not all. In the face of them we see perseverance, fidelity and trust. Above all there is an adherence to the truth that is truly amazing. Jesus speaks the truth to all who will listen, and if they find that truth “intolerable” they are free to leave, just as they are free to believe. No one who reads this passage could accuse Jesus of being interested in fame or fortune or the simple accumulation of followers. He didn’t play the ‘numbers game’. Even more amazing is that when his followers seem to be down to their lowest ebb, he turns to the Twelve and gives them freedom to go as well. Peter’s reply, when he speaks of their belief, is the only answer that matters; it is spirit and life that replies, not the flesh, which has nothing to offer.
I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise always on my lips; in the Lord my soul shall make its boast. The humble shall hear and be glad. The Lord turns his face against the wicked to destroy their remembrance from the earth. The Lord turns his eyes to the just and his ears to their appeal. They call and the Lord hears and rescues them in all their distress. The Lord is close to the broken- hearted; those whose spirit is crushed he will save. Many are the trials of the just man but from them all the Lord will rescue him. He will keep guard over all his bones, not one of his bones shall be broken. Evil brings death to the wicked; those who hate the good are doomed. The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants. Those who hide in him shall not be condemned.
Alleluia, alleluia! Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life: you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia!
First Reading: Joshua 24: 1-2, 15-17, 17,18
Second Reading: Eph 5: 21-32
Gospel Reading: John 6: 60-69