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All the way

by | Aug 18, 2015 | Formation, Reflections

Vincent EucharistTwenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time (B), August 23, 2015 – Jos 24, 1-2a. 15-17. 18b; Eph 5, 21-32; Jn 6, 60-69

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ (Eph 5, 21)

Jesus’ flesh is true food and his blood, true drink. His words lead to eternal life.

By declaring himself the heavenly bread, Jesus triggers a controversy that keeps spreading. Scandalized now are some disciples. The Master indicates to them that they have not seen anything yet.

Those who are scandalized ask, “Who can hear it?” They thus give themselves away as lacking the essential disposition of disciples. Genuine disciples believe, first of all, in their Teacher and dedicate themselves to listening to him. Those who turn back at the first sign of trouble show they really do not belong to him.

To belong to Jesus is a matter of pure divine initiative: He is the one to set before us the choices; “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you”; “No one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” It is the Spirit that gives life, although the flesh must not be dismissed, since the Son of God has taken it to make possible our assimilation to the divine.

St. Vincent de Paul recognized the absolute indispensability of grace, yet without dismissing human contribution. A prayer of his says: “We are weak, Oh God, and capable of giving in at the first assault. You have called us by pure mercy; may your infinite goodness be pleased to preserve us. For our part, with your holy grace, we will do all in our power to give you all the service and all the faithfulness that you expect of us. …” (SV.FR IX:360).

And what is expected, in the first place, of those who are chosen is that they be unrelenting in hearing the Word of God in view of observing it. Intimacy with Jesus as a family member is granted only to those who listen to the Word and observe it.

Very close and assimilated to their Master, since they live by the Word of God and are fed with his flesh and blood, the true disciples learn to be the first ones to be subordinate to others and to place themselves at their service. The Lord also helps them endure hardships and gives them a well-trained tongue, so they may know how to speak encouraging words to the weary.

They likewise learn to give themselves as food and drink for the life of the world. Thus, they scandalize even more those who see everything from the point of view of their profit (cf Laudato Si’ 82, 109) and do not understand that it is by losing that one gains.

Lord Jesus, make us understand that it is by dying that we are born to eternal life.

Ross Reyes Dizon

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