Throughout the course of our lives, we have the chance, the opportunity to make choices.
The choices we make are ours to make, and are non-transferrable. Our Scripture this weekend tells us that, “From this time on, many of his disciples broke away and would not remain in his company any longer.” Jesus then asked his closest twelve, “Do you want to leave me too?”
In today’s second reading Paul is speaking about the institution of marriage, whereby two persons become one flesh. Prior comes a moment of truth, a time in which the couple must respond to an invitation of love from the other. In some cases, the person responds in an affirmative way even though the decision is not based on a secure knowledge of the future.
Because of the love between the two, the uncertainty is drowned out by a chorus of love and a resulting positive affirmation. A love which mirrors Christ’s self-emptying love for the church; one that puts the care of others before the care of self; one that understands that ultimately the love of self and love of Christ is expressed in the love of others.
Today we find ourselves at time we have been asked to make a conscious choice about our faith.
Jesus himself has led us here. Jesus has courted us over the past five weeks. Remember the first week: a crowd over five thousand together with nothing to eat. “Get the people to recline… Jesus then took the loaves of bread, gave thanks, passed them around…”.
We listened during our second week of the Divine courtship as Jesus assured us of the permanence of this nourishment. “You should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal, food which the Son of Man will give you.”
Our third week disclosed that this food which the Son of Man will give us is the Son the Man himself. “I myself am the living bread come down from heaven. The bread that I give you is my flesh, my flesh for the light of the world.” The murmurings of the people was incredulous about how can he give us his flesh to eat? He must be mad. No, our Jesus reassures us that what he said is not a mistake, “My flesh is real food, my blood real drink. The one who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me an I in him.” Real food, real drink, the real presence of God offered to us.
And now, the courtship has reached its apex, the moment of truth. And in a sense, we experience the same ambiguities as the couple who contemplates a life together.
There are numerous arguments to counter what we have heard over the past five weeks. There are all kinds of reasons that we should discount the words spoken so long ago.
But we find ourselves here today with the same question that was asked of his disciples, “Do you want to leave me too?” It is our day to choose, do I believe, or better yet, do you love deeply enough to trust what I may not totally understand and know is a choice which may alter my life forever.
In faith, love and trust, our voices join with Peter’s, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe; we are convinced that you are God’s holy one.”