Reflection on 21st Sunday: 22nd August 2021

“Lord to whom shall we go?”

‘It seems that we are born with a longing, a desire, and a deep hope that this thing called life could somehow last forever. It is a premonition from Something Eternal that is already within us. Some would call it the soul. Some would call it the indwelling presence of God. It is God in us that makes us desire God. It is an eternal life already within us that makes us imagine eternal life. It is the Spirit of God that allows us to seriously hope for what we first only intuit. Spiritual knowing, spiritual cognition is always really re-cognition. It’s the realisation that I already knew this. At some deep level I had a recognition, a suspicion, an intuition that this might just be true: that I might just be the son/daughter of the holy one, a child of God. It is an intuition which cannot be proven but only experienced. But then we hesitate and think, “Oh but that’s too good to be true.”

Perhaps this explains Peter’s striking response to Jesus’ question, “Do you also wish to go away?” Peter answers with another question: “To whom shall we go?” It is not the most flattering response in the world, but it is honest. Peter’s reply reveals his uncertainty about what is happening within him. Although he acknowledges that Jesus has “the words of eternal life” Peter doesn’t fully understand what that means because we can never grasp a mystery; we can only allow ourselves to be grasped by it. That kind of surrender is needed if we are ever to experience the spirit who gives life. Peter and the others have found nourishment in Christ’s presence and in His teaching and they stay with Jesus precisely because he has been a source of new life for them. They will soon be entrusted with the mission of communicating that life to others. We may be tempted to walk away from what God is feeding us in our daily life experiences. But where do we go?’

Richard Rohr. Adapted

‘When your life awakens and you begin to sense the destiny that brought you here, you endeavour to live a life that is generous and worthy of the blessing and the invitation that is always calling you.
The eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day.
May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love’

John O’Donohue

Gospel John 6: 60-69

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, “This is intolerable language, How could anyone accept it? Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, “Does this upset you?” What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, “This is why I told you that no-one could come to me unless the Father allows him.” After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “What about you, do you want to go away too?” Simon Peter answered, “Lord who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe: we know that you are the Holy One of God.”