Can you imagine? In today’s First Reading, we hear of Peter traveling, performing miracles, changing people’s hearts, and people having conversions of faith. After seeing these kinds of miracles, or hearing them from your friends and family, it would be so much easier to believe. All the proof, the first-hand witness, is right there in front of you. That seems simple enough, right?
Well… maybe not.
During the season of Easter, we get to spend quality time with the disciples and Christ Jesus. We get to relive exactly how they felt about Jesus’ resurrection, complete with the awe, the shock, the terror, the… total disbelief. We, again, are reminded that the things that we take for granted as biblical facts, were kind of crazy at the time.
Today’s Gospel picks up right after Jesus tells his followers that they will need to literally eat him, Jesus, to attain eternal life. Ya know, like the best thing since sliced bread.
The disciples are, unsurprisingly, concerned with the fact that NO ONE is going to accept this, especially as a core belief. I just imagine a man sitting behind Jesus spitting out his wine, the women in the crowd exchanging looks, and Saint John saying, “I’m sorry, we have to what??”
John’s Gospel puts it mildly, saying that “many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’” to which Jesus replies, “Does this shock you?” (John 6:60,62). In reality, I’m sure there was a large uproar because I don’t know about you but, yeah, I definitely would have been shocked, even if I HAD already seen Jesus rise from the dead and perform miracles.
Of course, Jesus recognizes that this sounds like a lot and knows that he will lose many followers, yet he does not change his stance. He does not say, “Oh, too weird? I was kidding. It was a test.” He then asks the twelve disciples, “Do you also want to leave?”
Occasionally, we are asked this same question. Maybe it’s the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of faith. I know there have been times when I asked myself, “Do you want to leave?”
But when you remember, truly remember, everything that God has given us, all the hope, all the love, all the forgiveness… I can only hope that you, like myself in the past, answer in Simon Peter’s words: “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” (John 6:68-69).
Veronica Alvarado is a born and raised Texan currently living in Pennsylvania. Since graduating from Texas A&M University, Veronica has published various Catholic articles in bulletins, newspapers, e-newsletters, and blogs. She continued sharing her faith after graduation as a web content strategist and digital project manager. Today, she continues this mission in her current role as communications director and project manager for Pentecost Today USA, a Catholic Charismatic Renewal organization in Pittsburgh.
Feature Image Credit: Thomas Kelley, https://unsplash.com/photos/xVptEZzgVfo