June 21, 2017: Believing in (the Tough Words of) Jesus

Bruce Haas and Father Fryml were welcomed to the Men’s Prayer Group. Tripp Bradley and Pat Callahan are also added to the list of participants. Nineteen were present this morning.

Note: These are my personal reflections on the discussion this morning, and comments and criticisms are welcome. I never claim to be right but just hope to be moving in the right direction.
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Father Linsky sparked healthy discussion of his June 18th homily on John 6 and the words of Jesus therein about the Eucharist, the necessity of eating His Body and drinking His Blood if we are to have life within us. Given the key word, “unless,” Father wondered to what extent the homily was “unsettling.”

John 6:53 – Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.

We know that the words were unsettling when spoken by Jesus to his followers because of this:

John 6:60, 66 – Then many of his disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”…As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Since several of us have Protestant backgrounds and all have Protestant friends and relatives, we spent some time discussing how we reconcile that “hard” statement of Jesus with popular, apparently simple, evangelistic commands such as this one?

Mark 16:15-16 – He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Well, reconciliation of John 6 with Mark 16 is no problem if Eucharist is part of the “Gospel,” the Good News, and we believe it is, and if “believes” means not just intellectual belief but life-changing repentance and conversion, and we believe it does, and if “will be” implies a continuing process, involving the Sacraments, beginning with Baptism, and we believe it does. With positive responses to those ifs, it all fits together very nicely, but we have to look at the big picture, the “Full Gospel,” so to speak, and not just pick and choose our verses.

It seems to be a question of simple formulas vs. Divine Mystery.

Here is a link to a blog post I found on “Hardest Sayings of Jesus” which includes the verse we discussed, John 6:53.

Thank you Father Linsky for the stimulating discussion and spiritual guidance.

Darryl

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