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Gospel reflection

August 23, 2015: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

cosmic-prayer-webMany of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them,
“Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
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.” (John 6:60-69)


Jesus recognized the pain of doubt in His disciples who were griping. Patiently and gently He goes back a bit to explain in a way their hearts can understand. Jesus says, “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” Next, Jesus asks the disciples if they wish to leave. God lovingly calls to each of us and awaits our decision.

Peter courageously speaks for the disciples. In his words we hear someone who does not fully understand, but who trusts and will follow. Peter says, “To whom shall we go?…We have come to believe…you are the Holy One of God.” This continuing forward even when uncertain is faith in action. What fuels such faith is a continued dialog with Jesus and a heart open to receive Jesus’ answer.

Such faith in action is required of each of Jesus’ followers. We each will have moments of doubt when we ask, “Lord, is this where I am supposed to be?” We need to back up, listen to the clarifying words of Jesus, and then call forth the answer we find in our heart.


This week in prayer tell Jesus about a problem or difficulty you are facing. Ask Jesus to guide you forward.

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Helen Flavin

Helen Flavin is a Providence Associate. She is a Catholic scientist, educator and writer. Helen received her Ph.D. in Neurochemistry from Boston College. She is a fulltime science teacher. She is a guest columnist for her Diocese’s Catholic Newspaper “The Anchor.” She enjoys volunteering at the local nursing home.

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