Acts 9:31-42 (The Church at peace; Peter heals the paraplegic Aeneas and raises Dorcas from the dead)
Psalm 116:12-17 (How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?)
John 6:60-69 (The Bread of Life Discourse VII: "Do you also want to leave?")
Acceptance. Easy for some things, difficult in others.
If I won the big prize in the lottery, that would be relatively easy to accept.
Why is it, then, that something much more lasting than the lottery cash prize - which, by the way, also effects a change in lifestyle - is at times, so hard to accept? Is the concept of life at peace with the Creator so far-fetched from reality; are the temptations too great, that it is so hard to accept the manner of life that comes with it?
That is the whole point of the Bread of Life Discourse. I haven't paid much attention to the ongoing dialogue this week - not because it is hard to wrap around, but because the stories of Deacons Stephen and Philip, and the conversion of Saul played larger to me. (Reading deeper this week I realized that it was not the Apostle Philip but another of the first seven deacons who preached to the Samarians and the Ethiopian official; that is an important point that is often missed.) I will also have another opportunity to reflect on the whole of the Bread of Life Discourse later this summer as John 6 is proclaimed over six weeks beginning in July.
The conclusion of this discourse is possibly the only place in John's Gospel where Jesus in his humanity might be wondering what to do next. Thousands of people were fed miraculously, and wanted more. They so desperately wanted to believe in Jesus. Yet, signs and wonders were not what it was all about. There was much more - but it meant a change of heart and of ways. It meant taking a risk that some simply thought they couldn't take, and as a result, many disciples stopped following Jesus and returned to their previous way of life.
Seeing this, Jesus takes this as an opportunity to ask the soon-to-be apostles: "Do you also want to leave?"
Peter speaks up. Remember, this is the guy who wanted to build three temples at the scene of the Transfiguration, and would deny he even knew Jesus. What's he going to say this time?
"Master, to whom shall we go?"
We're blessed by this and by anyone who 'hangs in there' when the path is not clear. This makes it possible for the rest of us who may stray from the path to receive the prayers and grace to return to it.