Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 26, 2018)

During the past few Sundays, we have listened to Jesus speak of himself as the living bread come down from heaven. He has made it very clear that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood or we won’t have life within us.

Today we have heard the disciples respond to all that Jesus has said. Some find his words hard to believe and walk away from him. With a note of sadness, Jesus asks the Twelve: “Do you also want to leave?” We heard Peter speak for himself and the Twelve: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.

We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” What a profound act of faith!

Peter responds from his experience of God in Jesus, as Joshua had done before him. It may have been difficult to understand what Jesus was saying to them, but Peter and the Twelve were convinced by what they had seen and heard that Jesus was the Holy One of God. They would put their faith and trust in him, knowing that they would eventually come to a better understanding of all that Jesus was telling them.

Like the Israelites of old, they chose to serve the Lord who is our God. They have seen all that God has done in the person of Jesus. They put themselves at the service of Jesus.

Jesus continues to ask his question. You and I have opportunities to respond. Each of us has experienced difficult moments in life that make Jesus’ words hard to accept. Jesus repeats his question: “Do you also want to leave?”

Just staying here because that’s where I am does not answer Jesus’ question. I can be here and not be open to Jesus’ words of everlasting life for me. I can be here and not accept the graces offered to me to draw me closer to Jesus.

Are we, willing to respond whole-heartedly to Jesus? Let us ask for the grace to respond with open heart to the present moment to all that Jesus wants to do in us and through us to one another. Let us make our Oblate response with sincere faith and trust: “Live, Jesus, whom I love! Live in me today!”