Acts 9:31-42; Ps 116: 12-17; Jn 6:60-69
“To you will I offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving!”
We continue to offer a thanksgiving sacrifice and call upon the name of the Lord because of all he has done for us. Our Eucharist makes return to the Lord for all the good he has done for us. The Lord took Peter at his word in the gospel, “Lord to whom shall we go?” The Lord Jesus makes his power known in the words and works of Saint Peter. Everywhere the words of eternal life are proclaimed the church was at peace. Indeed, all through Judea, Galilee, and Samaria, hearers of the word enjoyed the increased consolation of the Holy Spirit. All the disciples did not leave Jesus just because his words were hard to endure. The Twelve and those who were convinced that Jesus is God’s holy one continued to bear witness and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
Like his Master, Jesus, the apostle Peter manifested the signs and wonders of healing and raising from the dead. Aeneas, a paralytic, got up and made his bed after eight years of suffering. Tabitha died and was called forth like Jesus’ friend Lazareth when Peter said stand up. She opened her eyes, then looked up at Peter and sat up. Such a great faith revealed in deeds of healing love called many to believe in the Lord. Peter’s profession of faith after the Jesus miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and the walking on the water in John’s gospel has matured and borne fruit—a fruit that will last.
The church in the first reading was being built up and making steady progress in the fear of the Lord. Such a peaceful snapshot of the apostolic church seems to be in sharp contrast to the reaction of the crowds and disciples after Jesus bread of life reflection. Saint John writes, that Jesus was fully aware that his disciples were murmuring in protest at what he had said. “Does this shake your faith?” he asked them. The Lord Jesus does not apologize to regain his wavering disciples, nor does he explain things away by saying, “Oh, you people get so upset about nothing; I was only speaking metaphorically!” No, Jesus continues to challenge even his disciples with his words that are spirit and life. Jesus seems to be saying: Would you even believe if you saw the Son of Man ascending and descending? What will it take for you to believe? As long as you trust your useless fleshly perspective, how can you hope to see what is being revealed here? When will you let the Spirit blow where he will and flood your fleshly perspective with the light of the words I spoke to you? Indeed, Jesus painfully repeats what he had already said again and again, that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father. It is both the work of the Spirit and the will of the Father that enable anyone to have faith in Jesus, the Bread of Life. Indeed, Jesus puts even the Twelve to the same question, “do you too wish to go away?” Saint Peter speaks for the Twelve; does he answer this question for us in today’s liturgy? Do we ask Jesus, Lord to whom shall we go? Since you Jesus are the True Bread come down from heaven perfecting the gift of manna and Torah, where else can we be nourished? Like the Psalmist do we ask, what return can I make to the Lord for all that he gives to me? What else can we do, we who have come to believe and are convinced that Jesus is God’s holy one? What else can we do but offer the Eucharist, the sacrifice of thanks, which continues his self-gift on the cross and makes his miracle bread available in every age of the church.