To follow Christ without looking back

Sunday, August 26th, 2012, is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.

Lectio:  Read the Gospel text from John 6:60-69.   Read it slowly and reflectively, and maybe a second time.  Try to read aloud rather than with the mind.  Listen to the text as you read.  Stand back from it and ponder.

Meditatio:  Some background to help us understand the text and respond to it.

As in the first reading, we are again presented with a turning point.  His disciples have a choice: to turn away and join those who don’t believe, or to ‘once and for all’ follow Christ without looking back.  On this Gospel text, St Cyril of Alexandria wrote:  ‘To whom shall we go?’ Peter asks.  In other words, ‘Who else will instruct us the way you do?’, or ‘To whom shall we go to find anything better?’  You have the words of eternal life; not hard words, as those other disciples say, but words that will bring us to the loftiest goal, unceasing, endless life removed from all corruption.  These words surely make quite obvious to us the necessity for sitting at the feet of Christ, taking him as our one and only teacher, and giving him our constant and undivided attention.  He must be our guide who knows well how to lead us to everlasting life.  Thus, we shall ascend to the divine court of heaven, and entering the church of the first born, delight in blessings passing all human understanding.”  (This is a Patristic Commentary, which brings us into a spiritual “space” more suited to another text on the Mystery of the Eucharist).

I share my response in Evangelization No. 1.

EVANGELIZATIO:  My lived response to the texts with which the Church exhorts me to pray.  St. James says “Be doers of the Word.”  And the Book of Deuteronomy tells us that the Word of God is in our hands to do it. 

I am called to respond to the question:  “Do you want to go away too?” and to the answer:  “Lord, to whom shall I go?  You have the message of eternal life, and I believe…”  This is where the Spirit is leading me.  I had a personal crisis just yesterday and I wanted to walk away from it all.  Out of the blue came the same question Jesus asked his disciples, and I knew it was the Holy Spirit within me calling me back to Jesus.  Next time we want to walk away, listen for that question.

(Lectio Divina is Holy Reading, that is, reading of the Sacred Scriptures.  It is a way of life, not a method of prayer.  It is about reading (and listening), reflecting, praying in tune with the Holy Spirit within me, resting in God, responding in the way I live, and continually pondering on the Scriptures).  

– Sr Hildegard Ryan OSB, Jamberoo Abbey 

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