To Whom Shall We Go?
I’m trying to put myself in the shoes, I mean sandals of the disciples in the gospel reading from John 6:60-69 for the Sunday of August 27th. Jesus’ language is very “woo woo.” He is talking to his disciples about the bigger spiritual picture and he doesn’t dummy it down. He isn’t using metaphors, but rather he speaks directly about his relationship to the Father.

Some of his disciples decided they can no longer follow him. We aren’t really told why they leave. Perhaps these statements of Jesus were too much on the edge for them…too far fetched. All we know from this part of the scripture is that they return to their former ways of life.

Jesus then turns to the twelve and says, “Do you also want to leave?”

Because we have heard the whole story it is so easy for me to say, “Of course not Jesus, I will go the whole way with you.” I read and hear the gospel with the knowledge of the resurrection…but the disciples didn’t have the exact knowledge of the big picture without engaging a tremendous amount of faith.

Although we might not be asked as directly as the disciples were asked by Jesus about our choice to follow or not follow him, I think that there are many times in our lives when we are challenged to name and then follow our convictions; in essence then, Jesus does put the question before us.

Today’s gospel invites me to take time to remember those experiences when I had to answer the call of Jesus and at that time the bigger picture was not clear to me. It also invites me to evaluate where and how in my life am I being asked again, “Do you also want to leave?” As we examine that call, may we respond as Simon Peter did…

“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.”

Gospel: Jn 6:60-69
Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “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.”