When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”
For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.” Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.
So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
The early church figured it out. As daily tending of the flock became more complex, the apostles gathered the community and determined with them to select seven deacons to “distribute food and wait on tables.” Down through the years such charitable outreach and practical service of others has been in the hands of countless women and men whose contributions to building our community of faith only God can measure. This lay outreach is even more urgent in our own day, as Pope Francis frequently notes.
The service of the gospel in whatever form that may take for each of us can be challenging, even daunting, and often time-consuming. On some days I might even feel I am drowning with its demands. Here is where Jesus’ words in the gospel strengthen and support us: “It is I; do not be afraid!” With such support, we all go forward steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, untiring in love!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
O Christ Jesus,
may your death be my life,
your labor my rest,
your human weakness my strength,
your confusion my glory.
—St. Pierre Favre, S.J.Please share the Good Word with your friends!