3rd Week of Easter, Saturday, April 24
Acts 9:31-42 / John 6:60-69
Many people leave Jesus; Peter stayed with Jesus.
A popular poster shows a loaf of bread and a goblet of wine. On the poster are the words, "Jesus of Nazareth requests the honor of your presence at a dinner to be given in his honor." The poster underscores two important points. First, the Mass is a meal to which Jesus invites us personally:"Do this in memory of me." Second, the Mass leaves us free to accept Jesus' invitation or to reject it, just as the disciples in today's gospel were free to do. As in gospel times, many people today have chosen to reject Jesus' invitation.
Why have we accepted Jesus' invitation? "You do not go to the Eucharist to serve God; you go to learn how God breaks bread, so that you can go and do it in the same way, because God is known in the breaking of the bread." Imis Evely
Once there was peace, the Church of the Risen Lord continued to grow throughout the Holy Land. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Peter continues the mission of Jesus: he speaks, he heals, he raises to life.
In the Gospel, many disciples are disappointed with Jesus. They had expected another kind of Messiah, one who led his disciples, not one who served them and would give them his flesh to eat; how could he do that anyway? Many people, including a good number of disciples, turned away from Jesus. Those who stay are perhaps not too sure what to think and do. So, Jesus confronts the apostles, “What about you?” Peter answers: “Lord, to whom shall we go to?” Yes, to whom shall we go?
The period of peace and security can also be a rather risky time. Because we can take the peace and security for granted and become complacent and lose our alertness. Furthermore, with the absence of challenges and dangers, life becomes mundane and monotonous, and we slowly corrode and erode and lose the sharpness for life.
In the 1st reading, we hear the churches throughout Judaea, Galilee and Samaria were left in peace. Yet, that is not all in that statement; it continues by saying that they were building themselves up and living in the fear of the Lord and filled with the consolation of the Holy Spirit.
Those were the trademarks of the early Church - building up the community and fortifying it; living in the fear of the Lord and yet with full faith in Him; and trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And Peter showed forth the power of the name of Jesus in healing a paralytic and raising the dead.
In short, the early Church was proclaiming the Good News, which also means that it is the message of life and the message for life. It was the same Peter who in the gospel proclaimed that Jesus has the message of eternal life and they believed in Him as the Holy One of God.
As Church, we must be proclaiming Jesus and His message of eternal life. Yet, like Peter who healed the paralytic and raised the dead, may we too rise and keep walking towards Christ. It is in proclaiming the powerful name of Jesus that we too will find life and also eternal life.
Faithful God of the covenant, in the daily choices we have to make, give us the courage to opt always for your Son and his ways and to remain close to him. Bless the difficult road we sometimes have to take without seeing where it will lead us. Keep us from making half-hearted decisions when our faith is rather weak and make us accept all the consequences of our choice. Keep us always faithful through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen