“Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’” (John 6:66-68).
The words of Peter in today’s Gospel passage calls for some deep reflection. When it comes to God, do we really have a choice? Is there an alternative to God? Where else can we find salvation for our souls? Dear friends, if we cannot find happiness following the footsteps of God, where else can we turn to? The people walked away from Jesus and stopped following Him because He told them that He was going to give them His own flesh and blood. Like those who walked away from Jesus, there are many times we walk away from God when our expectations are not met. How? We stop taking prayers seriously, we become less fervent with our devotional activities, or we turn aside from following our conscience.
Dear friends, no matter the reason why we may want to turn our backs on God, the truth is that THERE IS JUST NO ALTERNATIVE. St. Augustine said: “You have made us for yourself O God and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” We are made by God and made of God and made for God. Following God is not easy but it is the best option we have. Do you notice that the same Peter who spoke in today’s Gospel passage is the one we see in today’s first reading working miracles in the name of God? Imagine if Peter had walked away from Jesus during that moment of shock when Jesus said they would eat his flesh?
We cannot always understand God, yet God deserves all our trust. Don’t quit on God. Don’t give up your prayers. Don’t drop that cross. It may look like Good Friday now but your Easter Sunday will come. No matter how dark the night is, the daylight must surely come.
Today, we remember St. Athanasius, a Bishop and one of the Doctors of the Church. As a young deacon, Athanasius accompanied Bishop Alexander to the council of Nicea and he spoke in support of the Divinity of Jesus Christ against the backdrop of the Arian heresy which was gaining grounds then. At the council of Nicea, the Bishops of the Church composed the Creed which holds what we believe. Athanasius who succeeded Alexander as Bishop would spend most of his life defending the Doctrine of the Divinity of Christ, a feat which cost him so much. Five times he was banished and seventeen years of his entire episcopate were spent in exile. Athanasius is also known as the father of Orthodoxy and Defender of the Faith. Let us pray: Lord Jesus, please give me the courage to remain when I feel like giving up on you or quitting the race. Amen. Bible Study: Acts 9:31-42, Psalm 116 and John 6:60-69).