Sunday, August 23, 2009

The true spirit of Christian discipleship

From Pope Benedict's Angelus about this Gospel passage.

Even today, many are 'shocked' by the paradox of the Christian faith. Jesus’ teaching seems too 'hard', too difficult to accept and put into practice. As a result there are those who reject and abandon Christ; those who attempt to 'adapt' his teachings to the fashions of the times distorting its meaning and value. 'Will you also go away?'. This unsettling provocation resounds in our hearts and awaits a response from each one of us. Jesus in fact is not contented by a merely superficial or formal belonging, an initial and enthusiastic adhesion is not enough for Him; on the contrary, we must take part in 'his thinking and his will' throughout our entire life. Following Jesus "fills hearts with joy and the full meaning of existence, but it also brings difficulties and sacrifices because very often it means going against the trend”.

At Jesus' question ( "Will you also go away?"), only St. Peter replies: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life and we believe and know that you are the Holy One of God" (John 6 , vv. 68-69).

When Jesus presented his "scandalous" teaching on the Eucharist, the people reacted very negatively. How can you eat his flesh?

But following Christ means trusting in his infinite wisdom and love. If we know Christ to be love itself, then we must follow his teaching and not seek to make it more palatable by distorting or actually ignoring it.