So he went on to say: "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted them by my Father and Mother God." As a result of this, many of Jesus' disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?" Simon Peter answered, "Master, to whom would 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!"
The drama of decision stands in the forefront of today’s gospel. The desertion of Jesus by some of his disciples illustrates the difficulty of discipleship, which is just too challenging for the faint-hearted or the merely curious. Peter's later denial of Jesus during His Passion illustrates just how challenging it is to follow Jesus, but for now Peter voices a Faith in Jesus that springs from the powerful first-hand relationship he has had with him. Peter has seen Jesus with the lepers, with the Samaritan Woman, with little children and prisoners, with the poor and pleading, with the sick and sinful, and Peter has seen Jesus in glory with Moses and Elijah on the Mountain of Transfiguration. Peter has come to believe that Jesus who stands before him is the clearest, sharpest, most perfect picture mortals have of the face of God--compassionate, just, all-mighty, all-knowing, merciful, and loving. With God-given faith Peter confesses his loyal belief in Jesus... "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal Life." After 3 years of being immersed in Jesus' teachings, of witnessing his peaceful ways, his dedicated prayer life and communion with his Father/Mother God, his incisive yet humble interactions with detractors, and his miracles for healing and good, Peter can say, "We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God!"
It is ONLY the spending of time with Jesus in community that enables the disciples to respond to the God-given gift of faith within them. And so it is with us--unless we have a regular prayer life centered on Jesus and have faith community involvement (worship, study of the word, & service) we will not be able to sustain our belief in Jesus as the Holy One of God! Even the greatest saints realized that prayer (this spending time with Jesus) is required to have faith which is a gift from God that must be developed. St Anselm (d. 1109), has given this classic prayer for faith--"My prayer is a cold little thing, Lord, because it burns with so faint a flame. But you are rich in mercy. Lord I am not trying to reach your height, for my poor mind can never approach it. I do not seek to understand so that I may believe, but I believe so that I may understand, and further, I believe that unless I believe, I shall never understand."...
Understand what? -- precisely what those disciples in today's gospel walked away from--that God is so loving as to have desired to become incarnate, to show us how much we are loved.
St. Valentine Faith Community
Mass: 10AM Every Sunday
2670 Chandler Avenue
Suite 7 & 8
Las Vegas, NV 89120
702-523-8963 Rev Sue Provost, Pastor
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)