The Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time [B]
Joshua 24:1-2,15-17,18 + Ephesians 5:21-32 + John 6:60-69
August 26, 2012
“Simon Peter answered Him,
‘Master, to whom shall we go?’” [John 6:68]
After a great deal of murmuring and quarrelling, “many of Jesus’ disciples” finally admit, “‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’” Remember which saying they’re reacting to. Jesus had proclaimed, “‘the Bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.’” This saying is the hinge of all that Jesus says in John Chapter Six. Before Jesus says this, He’s preaching about being the Bread of Life. After He says this, He preaches about the need to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood. These are the two main themes of Jesus’ preaching in this chapter: that He is the Bread of Life, and that one must eat His Flesh and drink His Blood in order to have eternal life. This hinge on which both are joined together is Jesus foreshadowing the Gift of Himself, which He will give to His bride during Holy Week.
Jesus is foreshadowing the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist when He proclaims, “‘the Bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.’” But this is exactly what “many of Jesus’ disciples” find hard to accept. It’s important here to notice that this isn’t just the generic “crowd” that finds Jesus’ teaching about the Eucharist hard to accept. It’s not just “the Jews”, who earlier in the chapter had been murmuring. Instead, it’s Jesus own disciples, and to make matters worse, it’s “many of Jesus’ disciples who … said, ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’”