“Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So, Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go?’” (John 6:56-57)
Many turned and walked away from Jesus. Jesus then turned towards the twelve and asked if they would like to go away as well. Peter, speaking on behalf of the twelve, said: “Lord, to whom shall we go?” In other words; “Do we have a choice?” Come to think of it: Is there an alternative to God? If we cannot find happiness following the footsteps of God, where else can we turn?
The people walked away from Jesus because He told them the plain truth about the Holy Eucharist. Jesus did not try to colour the truth to suit the audience. Jesus was not so concerned about pulling a large crowd, rather He cared more about the salvation of their souls. By telling them that they were not getting physical bread the second time, they already felt offended but by now telling them that the bread they needed was his very flesh, Jesus literally “drove them away.”
Like those who walked away from Jesus, there are many times we walk away from God when our desires are not met. We stop taking prayers seriously, we stop being active in our pious societies, we become less fervent with our devotional activities, or we turn aside from following our conscience and begin to commit sin, etc. There are times we act out of anger towards God or we seek some sort of revenge for unanswered prayers or the existence of a crisis in our lives. We begin to question the existence of God.
It is precisely at such moments that we should say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Obviously, the real reason for the behaviour of the crowd was that they did not understand. Peter himself did not understand but he chose to remain with Jesus – this is the definition of trust. You do not trust God because you know everything about God, you trust God because you believe He is all you have.
It is not possible for us to understand everything about God. Like the Holy Eucharist, there are still so many things about God that remain mysteries to us. No matter how high the temptation may be for you to walk away from God, let us remember that the best is yet to come. God has not changed and will never change a bit. Just hold on. Don’t quit on God.
For his steadfastness to endure when he didn’t understand, Peter would go on to become a great instrument in God’s hands. Our first reading today tells us how Peter knelt down to pray after which he spoke to a dead woman saying: “Tabitha, get up.” And she opened her eyes and sat up. Jesus tells us: “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.” (John 14:12-14). You do not need to understand everything about God before you become His chosen instrument.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, when I feel like giving up, speak your word to the depths of my heart. Deepen my love for you and work through me always. Amen
Bible Study: Acts 9:31-42, Ps. 116:12-17, John 6:60-69)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu