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It’s what we do! Final part – John 6

 

Proceded by practical instruction for proper reception of Holy Communion.

I have a dilemma today. I want to wrap up our journey through John chapter 6 but I’ve learned that this is one of the weekends that the bishops want us to talk about marriage. Probably has something to do with the second reading from St Paul. You know, the one about wives being submissive to husbands. But, this is after all The Year of Marriage and the Family and we really haven’t talked too much about it. So maybe there’s a way we can meld the two subjects together.

Deacon Jerry set the stage last week. We had those words Jesus spoke that had a real sting about them. He said we had to eat his flesh and drink his blood. This, he said, would bring us eternal life.

These words were so hard to accept that most of Jesus followers abandoned him that very day. This may have been as many as 70 of his followers. They could no longer remain loyal and faithful. They were probably now thinking of him as perhaps, some kinda nut. This was the first great apostasy.

Jesus words are still hard to swallow. Beginning with the Protestant Reformation of 500 years ago, some began to soften the concept, watering it down by implying that the words were just symbolic.

But again, as Deacon Jerry mentioned, Jesus had repeated himself several times to drive home the point. And he didn’t call `em back when they walked away.

But when they left, Jesus just turned to the apostles and asked if they would like too would do the same. Now Simon Peter, in one of his better moments, speaking for the others, said “To whom shall we go? Only you have the words of eternal life”

There is no way to determine how confident he was when he said those words

but the essence of his statement was:

We have decided to follow you Jesus, there will be not turning back, no turning back. We are committed to you Lord, and we promise to be loyal and true, from this day forward, in good times and in bad, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.

So there you have it. I just made the connection to….. marriage. Peter essentially made a vow. And really , this isn’t a stretch.

Jesus was identified as a bridegroom many times in the gospels. And all of us, the Church, the Body of Christ, we are  the Bride of Christ.

So, what then does it mean for us?

Well it means the same for us as it did for them. We are in a marriage relationship with Jesus. He wants us to love him. With our whole heart, mind soul, and strength.

He wants us to submit to him. To be obedient. (Thy will be done on earth….)

He wants us to say nice loving things to him. ( say it out loud, I love you Lord, )

He wants us to worship, and adore, and praise him. Trust him. ( Jesus I trust in you. )

He wants us to say we are sorry when we hurt him. (sacrament of confession)

He wants us to ask him for help. He wants to hear a thank you when he gives it. He wants not only to be our savior, but also to be our brother and friend, our spouse.

In fact, He said that this was a commandment. The first and greatest commandment. But as with any relationship, it can be difficult at times.

It would be easy to focus on Simon Peter alone . His relationship with Jesus was a rocky one. You know about him, and how fickle he could be.

Jesus could, of course, see right through him. He knew him inside out. He knew he would fail in his resolve. But he was patient with the fisherman, he was long-suffering, understanding . And hopeful that things would work out in the end. Anticipating his failure, Jesus said, at the last supper, “ and when you have turned Peter, you must strengthen your brothers.”

This relationship between Jesus and Peter then can serve as a model of how all spousal relationships should work. Although it’s not part of today’s reading, it’s also something that Paul said in another letter. And it’s probably the most used passage for weddings. You know it. “Love is patient, love is kind. It bears all things . In good times in bad.

And then there is the second greatest commandment. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

And again, today, at the bishops request, we can also address our relationship with our ultimate neighbor, namely, your spouses. Your wife, your husband, and your children. And for me, my relationship with you. Ours too is a spousal, covenantal relationship. Like Jesus, I am a bridegroom figure.

It’s a commitment, for life, and its sometimes very challenging. But with God’s help, and with our cooperation, and obedience to his standards, we can make it. We can overcome any obstacle and make it to the finish line.

So then, today as we conclude this study of the source and summit of our faith, whether we are talking about Eucharist or marriage, let us resolve to not walk away, but to recommit to Jesus as bride of Christ, and you married couples to recommit to the same, to the biblical standards of marriage, as expounded by St Paul.

Just remember what we said at the very beginning of our journey, five weeks ago.

This is what we do. Whether we are talking about consecrated bread and wine, or our commitments to each other, it’s what we do.

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