‘This is hard, who can accept it?’
We listen to a refrain that illustrates one of the many moments that Jesus and his disciples faced or met opposition or, more precisely, in this case, a moment of discouragement.
To see followers, turn away and to see that one’s words and teachings are being rejected before our very eyes is a painful experience.
Teachers, guides, even parents at times all face such moments in life. Wisdom, truth, challenging words or even at times plain common sense can be rejected by the listener – often without good reason, but nevertheless rejected definitively!
At times all we can hope is that the other will turn away from their view and at least consider if not embrace the good advice or truth being put before them
Two moments in today’s account might help us in our reflection on the Word and give us encouragement and hope.
Firstly, let us notice the freedom that Jesus extends to others.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
We bask in such freedom. Our belonging to Jesus, our walking with him is not something to be coerced or forced. He extends an invitation to us at each moment of life and we are free to make our response.
Secondly, we can be inspired by the faith of Peter in this instance.
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall 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.”
Pete’s famous words are both a testimony to the truth that is Jesus and a powerful witness and encouragement to us. Peter’s words show us that not only does Jesus have the secret of life, but that it is possible to follow him despite cost or challenge.
In today’s gospel text we see clearly that our following of Jesus can give strength and courage to others to do the same. That is, our personal affirmation of faith and our witness to that same faith in Jesus can be a beacon for others and give silent witness to many.
Fr. Denis Travers, C.P., is a member of Holy Spirit Province, Australia.