There are students who, when they cannot understand the lesson of their teacher, simply ignore the teacher and let their minds fly away. There are employees who, when they are being scolded by their employers for their wrongdoing and being instructed again to correct them, would simply hear the words of their employers without trying to understand them or without even the intention of following them. They are hard-headed and they are unwilling to listen simply because they find the instruction to be difficult to follow.
In the gospel, Jesus is explaining to His disciples that He is the bread that comes down from heaven and that they have to eat His body and drink His blood in order for them to remain in Jesus and in God. Indeed, these words of Jesus are hard to understand especially for the simple people who are following Him. They are thinking that they have to eat Jesus alive. They find such teaching of Jesus hard to understand and hard to follow. Consequently, many of them have left Jesus and no longer follow Him.
In our Church, there are Catholic Christians who like the followers of Jesus cannot understand some of the teachings of the Church. They find it hard to understand the importance of the Sacrament of Confession, of devotions to saints especially to the Blessed Virgin Mother, of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the sacramental form of the Sacred Host, etc. They find it even hard to understand the very teaching of Jesus regarding the need to forgive those who have wronged them, the need to pray for their persecutors, and the need to love their enemies. But all these are teachings of Jesus who is Lord and Saviour. If we believe in Jesus, then we have to follow His teachings and the teachings of His Church.
The problem with us is that when we find some teachings of the Church to be difficult to understand and to follow, we simply ignore them and we still claim to be good Christians. We only follow those teachings that are easy for us to follow. But this cannot be. A Christian is somebody who follows Jesus up to the Calvary. Jesus said: Whoever wants to follow me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. We cannot follow Jesus without carrying our own cross. To be a Christian is not to go to a party and enjoy life. To be a Christian is to follow the very life of Jesus, a life of sacrifice of oneself. We too must sacrifice ourselves and even our very lives just so that God may live in us. Indeed, a Christian is one who not only follows Jesus but even lives the very life of Christ.
Truly, the teachings of Jesus are hard to follow. But if we want to enter eternal life, we need to be faithful to Him. There is no other way to heaven except the way of Christ, the way of the cross. Jesus Christ is the only Son of God sent from heaven to guide us, to save us, and to grant us salvation. We need to follow Him if we want eternal life. His teachings are hard but these are the ones that can bring us to salvation. Like Simon Peter, we must not hesitate to follow Jesus whatever it may cost since only Jesus has the words of eternal life
TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle B/Year I (August 22, 2021)
Jos 24:1-2, 15-18/Eph 5:21-32/Jn 6:60-69