“That ain’t the way to have fun”
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 16, 2015
JN 6:51-58

Way back in 1970, just about the time that I really needed to hear it….one of my favorite Rock and Roll groups, Three Dog Night, had a hit song that the DJs played almost non-stop on the pop music channels. The refrain of the song was so simple that even I could sing along as I drove down the highway in my VW Beetle with the sunroof open. Mama told me not to come…she said: That ain’t the way to have fun, son…no, that ain’t the way to have fun! The verses describe the kind of party that makes responsible parents cringe even to think about. The song itself tells the story of a young man who disregarded the wisdom of his mother, and went to a party in spite of her warning…and he is suffering the consequences of his poor decision. Through the fog that has imprisoned his mind, his mother’s final words replay like the proverbial broken record…over and over…That ain’t the way to have fun, son…no, that ain’t the way to have fun!

I suspect that a lot of kids who would not have given St. Paul the time of day were influenced in a good way by that song. A warning from the radio about poor choices and the consequences of bad behavior somehow carries more weight than the same advice coming from the Bible.

But our Second Reading is about far more than acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Like the First Reading from the Book of Proverbs (9:1-6), St. Paul is urging us to live wisely, rejecting destructive behavior, trying our best to understand the will and the way of the Lord!

As we continue to unpack and reflect upon the “Bread of Life Discourse” set forth at John 6, we see that when the people encountered the very challenging mystery of Eucharist, Jesus’s great invitation to us, they simply did not understand. Jesus continued to explain. They apparently did not listen to Him. We’re told that they “argued among themselves.” The louder and more determined voices opposing Jesus proved more persuasive.

What a sad ending this story brings. The people just walked away! Turning away from Jesus! That ain’t the way to the truth…and that ain’t the way to eternal life! Turning away from Eucharist…That ain’t the way to the Father, The Son, or the Holy Spirit!