By Juliana Valdez
This reflection begins with the very last verse of today’s gospel where Jesus asks the twelve, “What about you, do you want to go away too?”, to which 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.”
Some of the people following Jesus were finding it difficult to understand His teachings, so they complained, referring to His doctrines as “intolerable language” and so, they got upset and many ceased following Him.
Intolerable! Intolerable because they couldn’t comprehend the truth of His teaching and were unwilling to open themselves to do so. What about us as Catholic Christians today?
We proclaim aloud, “Jesus is the same; yesterday, today and tomorrow!” It stands to reason then, what Jesus proclaimed to His followers so many centuries ago, about being the “living bread come down from heaven” is still the truth today!
Why then are so many followers in the Catholic Church still having problems believing in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?
Our advantage today is that we have the knowledge of Jesus, the Bread of Life, the Holy Spirit which continues to lead, inspire and guide our Church, the Eucharistic miracles, the Church’s liturgy, devotions and so much more to help us understand what Jesus said then, what He is saying now and what He will say forever, remains the same.
“The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
What is important to note is that Jesus did not alter His teachings to pacify those who were disturbed by it, nor did He try to call them back when they walked away.
Instead, He enquired of His apostles if they would also leave. Simon Peter’s answer, on behalf of all the other apostles, communicated to Jesus that they indeed believed the doctrine that was being taught to them.
Can we today, as professed believers, proclaim with the same conviction as Simon Peter, “…we believe, we know that you are the Holy One of God.”
We make this proclamation by how we live our lives. Through our beliefs, not lip service belief, but deep, sincere practice of our faith and all our Church teaches, we can proclaim that Jesus is truly the Holy One of God.
Imagine, we receive Him, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, the Living Bread come down from Heaven when we receive Holy Communion —what an incredible blessing!
We are promised eternal life if we eat and drink of Him. As the hymn reminds us, “Look beyond the bread you eat, see your Saviour and your Lord. Look beyond the cup you drink, see His love poured out as blood.”
But we cannot do it on our own. We need to implore the help of the Holy Spirit, so that we will be open to the wisdom and understanding we need to remain steadfast in faith, standing on the Word and promises of our Saviour and Lord. After all, to whom shall we go?
Lord Jesus, in the midst of the chaos, confusion and uncertainty which prevail in our world today, we are thankful for Your continued presence with us, through Your real presence in the Eucharist.
You are indeed the Living Bread come down from Heaven!
With conviction and confidence, we place our trust in You. Remove our doubts and fears as we seek to draw closer to You, Jesus and pray that in His merciful goodness, our loving Father will allow us.
We love You Jesus, help us to love You more and more, Amen.