Saturday, April 20, 2013

“Truth is not determined by a majority vote.”

"Life is not just a succession of events or experiences: it is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this – in truth, in goodness, and in beauty – that we find happiness and joy. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by those who see us merely as consumers in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth."~ Pope Benedict XVI

(Gospel text: JN 6:60-69)
Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

How courageously direct and honest Jesus is. They say, “This is too hard; who can accept it?” and Jesus’ reply is not that of many of today’s politicians: “I’m sorry, I misspoke. What I really meant to say was…”  Or even “Now wait, you misunderstand me. Let me re-explain it differently and more clearly…”

No; Jesus response is, “Well, I’m sorry if that shocks you, but that’s the way it is.”

Jesus did not try to conform the truth to what people would accept; he expected the people to accept the truth that he conveyed. No wonder, then, that many of those following Jesus deserted him.

Are people today really all that different?

During the dark of the night, perhaps, watching and praying by the bedside of a child or grandchild in the hospital, wondering why in the world he is so sick and whether he’ll ever recover. Or at noon time, standing in line at the unemployment office and wondering how you ended up here and worrying whether you’ll ever find another job. Or in the latter part of the day, while cooking supper and thinking about your family, so full of ill-will toward each other and wondering why things have not turned out the way you hoped. At these times aren’t we tempted to conclude that the promises we trusted were empty and the faith we once held was misplaced? Oh, perhaps we don’t renounce or desert the Lord openly we just don’t make the extra effort to get to church regularly, or we reduce what we’ve been giving, are more reluctant to help others, or simply stop praying until, in the end, we end up just like the disciples in today’s reading.

One thing. Listen, again, to Peter: “Lord,” he replies to Jesus’ question, “to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Peter, you see, knew where to look. That’s it; that’s what makes him and the other eleven different it’s not their brains or their ability or their status or even their faith: they simply know where to look.  To Jesus and his Church; and they keep their eyes fastened on him.

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