Hear the teaching and learn from it. JOHN 6:41–51
By Juliana Valdez
There is an old adage which reminds us that the only constant in life is change. Yet, for many of us, change is the most difficult thing to accept, especially when it means shifting our thought process, which may mean embarking on a new or different approach.
This includes embracing knowledge, people or procedures which are contrary to what we know or have been accustomed to.
This becomes even more difficult when the catalyst for the change involves persons we know, persons whom we feel do not have the authority, qualifications, etc, to be telling us anything!
Our ‘remember when’ attitude kicks in and instead of being enlightened by what is being said or done, like the Jews in the gospel today, we complain, “Surely this is Jesus, son of Joseph” (‘Ent he is Ma Rosie son?’).
“We know his father and mother” (‘He parents living in the alley!’).
“How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven?’” (‘Where he get all that education? He never went no college!’).
Mother Church in her wisdom has taught us that we can stand on the Word of God where He promises “never to leave or forsake us, but to be with us even unto the end of time,” and one of the ways this happens is through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Guided and inspired by this same Holy Spirit, there are many among us who seek to point us along the right path. Priests, teachers, parents, friends, sometimes even strangers, bring to us wisdom and enlightenment in situations.
The resistance we put up is based on our own refusal/reluctance to be open and receptive to the wisdom which is being imparted. The reason is simply the fact that we question the authority of those from whom the teachings come, sometimes even our anointed shepherds and other qualified personnel.
Jesus’ authority was questioned even though He worked miracles and wonders.
Today’s gospel informs us, “They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it, is to come to me.”
Our faith foundation lies in the traditions and teachings of the Church. Our shepherds, who answered the call to this vocation, in essence have answered the call to “come to me,” as Jesus said.
In going to Jesus, they are taught, and to keep the Church alive and active in this world today, we in turn are taught by them, enlightening, and empowering us to develop and maintain a deeper, closer, and more meaningful relationship with Jesus. But, just as the gospel reveals, there are always those who will object to the truth.
George Orwell, author, once said, “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.” If we substitute the word “society” with the word “church,” we would realise that the quotation could be very well describing those who question, doubt, or disagree with what the Church teaches and the values she tries to uphold. The result? Complaining, drifting, hating, doubting.
We must be willing therefore to prayerfully listen, reflect and meditate on the words of the scriptures, imparted with wisdom, knowledge and understanding to us by those who have been to Jesus and taught by God and so are able to preach and teach to the people of God.
There are times Father God, when we need to be still and acknowledge that You are indeed the One who, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, continue to lead and guide Your people.
Help us Lord to stop doubting, complaining, and drifting from the truth of Your Word.
Instead Father, help us to be open and receptive to the truth being imparted to us that our faith may be strengthened. We desire Lord, only to live in Your presence for all eternity.
Help us by Your grace. Amen.
The gospel meditations for August are by Juliana Valdez, a retired primary school teacher. She is a mother of two, son Kyle and daughter J’elle, and is actively involved in the life of the Sacred Heart Parish, La Brea.