April 24, 2021
by Andy Alexander, S.J.
Creighton University's Collaborative Ministry Office
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Lectionary: 278

Acts 9:31-42
Psalm 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17
John 6:60-69

Celebrating Easter

Letting Myself Be Reborn

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Doubting Comes from
Being Out of Communion

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.”
John 6

This gospel has often been very helpful for my spirit. The context is that in Chapter 6 of John's Gospel, we've been hearing Jesus reveal to us that he is the Bread of Life - the Bread that gives life. He goes further to call us to eat this bread to have eternal life. The notion of eating Jesus' body and blood - his literal self-giving love for us, for our nourishment - is just "too much" for some. They call it a "hard saying," that is, "this is hard to swallow." And, some of them turn away from him.

Jesus turns to the Twelve and asks them, "Do you also want to leave?" It is the perfect question for us. No matter how strong our faith, we have to recognize that we live in a world in which our faith is quite counter cultural. It is not only that the world doesn't accept or even understand the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, or the meaning of our "communion" with him, when we receive him in the Eucharist. Much of the world doesn't believe in who Jesus is for us. It's good to ask ourselves, not really, "Do I want to leave?" but more precisely, "How totally with him am I?" Our faith is not like belonging to a club, where we keep our membership up to date. It's a relationship with Jesus, which shapes who we are and how we are in relation to others and our world. It is asking myself, "Am I all in?" And, "Where am I resistant or reluctant or how do I withhold my communion with him?" Is there a cost to intimacy with Jesus that is "too much" for me?

Peter comes through with the dual insight and response. First of all he answers, "Master, to whom shall we go?" It is a great and profound question. Is there anyone else who is offering us more? Peter goes further: "You have the words of eternal life." No one else is offering us that. No one. It is the transformative, liberating insight. "You alone!"

Peter goes all the way: "We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." We not only believe; we are convinced. He's the one. For us, for me. Jesus alone.

Having this desire to have this faith, this conviction is so revelatory for us. It shows us what we want to believe - how deeply want desire to be in communion with him. We can feel sorrow for and repent of the obvious other attachments or unfeedoms we have, but embracing Peter's insights can be quite freeing today. For me, it helps me re-embrace this desire. It helps me to say, more deeply in my heart, "Where else would I go? Really, where else?" It helps me say, "You alone are offering me complete mercy and the gift of eternal life." It can deepen my freedom to love more self-less-ly. This renewal can be life redefining for us.

Most of all, this gospel can help each of us embrace the Eucharist more joyfully the next time we are able to receive it. We'll say "Amen," but we can say it to mean, "You alone."

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