Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gospel Reflection

August 26, 2012
Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Rev. Fr. Jun Sescon

First Reading:               Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18
Psalm:                         Psalm 34:2-3, 16-21
Second Reading:           Ephesians 5:21-32 or 5:2, 25-32
Gospel:                        John 6:60-69    

60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." 66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, "Do you also wish to go away?" 68 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."


Father Jun reminded us that for six Sundays now, the theme of the Gospels points to Jesus as the Bread of Life. But today’s Gospel showed that as Jesus said that He is the Bread of Life and that His Word is spirit and life, many could not accept and began to abandon Him.

Many deserted Jesus and chose not to follow Him anymore. We should then ask ourselves – Up to what extent are we following the Lord? Are we really determined to follow Him?

Father shared that he reads the Bible and tries to understand the passages, but the passages that disturb him most are those that he understands. As he understands, he realizes that it is very difficult to follow and obey. It is sad that those who abandon God are those who understand His Word, but could not accept what is being taught, so they leave and walk away.

Today the Lord is telling us that this can’t be. To follow Jesus is to take up our cross, that it may change us – our life, our heart – and not to change God. It cannot be that we say yes to Resurrection, and no to Crucifixion. Love, yes, but commitment, no. Charity, yes, but justice, no. We cannot have one without the other. Pain comes with birth, night comes with day. It is difficult but that it is the only way to follow Christ.
The untimely death of Sec. Jesse Robredo and the discovery of his life as a true public servant inspired us. Some even extolled him as he was a good man, na para bang hirap na hirap na tayong makakita nang tulad niya. But this should not be the case. Jesse should not be the only one. Goodness should be the way of life of all of us. It should be the norm, not the exception. We should all be like that.

We should pray that one day, we will not be surprised to have very good leaders like Jesse. We pray for that day that goodness in us will no longer be unique, that goodness may be our way of life. We are called by God to follow Him. In October, Blessed Pedro Calungsod will already be canonized as a saint. We should be like him. We should all strive to be saints. We should be faithful to our vocation as Christians – to follow the Lord, to be good, to be saints – committed to the ideas that we professed. Do we really believe in the truth that we believe in God? Jesus asks, “Do you believe in Me, or are you also going away?”

“Lord, we are all here because we want to tell you that we believe. Pardon us if at times, we renounce our faith and abandon our relationship with You when the going gets tough. Strengthen us, embolden us to be faithful. Thank you for always being there with us and for us. May we be constant and true. Remind us of Your presence, that we may live our faith, change our ways, and never leave you anymore, Amen.”