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Father Muench Says...

‘Will you also leave me?’

Aug. 25, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, a little more about John 6 and Jesus’ discourse on the bread of life. Jesus describes his love. He longs to come to us, to be part of our lives, to become for us the nourishment and strength that will fortify us to live as true disciples of the Lord.

John 6 closes with the story of disciples who have listened to Jesus but are not willing to accept his message and no longer are willing to walk with him. However, the apostles remain. It is Peter who announces his faith in the Lord. He speaks for the faith of his friends, the other apostles. “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 6:68)

Today, John 6 invites each one of us to renew our faith. On the day of this story, would we stand with Peter and would our prayer be his? Each Sunday in a dramatic proclamation during Mass, we declare our faith in Our Savior as we say together the Creed.

Each of us must make our faith own. We have to find meaning in it through personal experience if it is to come alive for us. Our challenge is to recognize exactly what we mean by the word “faith.” It is not in the first place the acceptance of a set of beliefs. Instead, it’s a belief in and commitment to the person of Jesus.

Can I stand with Peter in my life as a Catholic? I believe that this is possible when I stand with others before the Lord as a Catholic, as Church. Being Church means we are united in Spirit and love with the Lord Jesus. For more and more people, faith is no longer something inherited and taken for granted, but the result of a personal decision. They live as members of a community of believers whose common faith strengthens the faith of each individual.

The Lord Jesus is the one who strengthens our faith, but we also need to confirm one another. Our presence at the Sunday Eucharist can make both of these things happen.

Each Sunday, parish communities come together to pray and celebrate the Holy Eucharist. The very word Eucharist indicates that we are present in gratitude for all that the Lord did for us and continues to do for us by being present to our community. We pray together and sing together seeking the Lord’s strength that our faith will lead is to live as the Lord has taught us.

Each week at Sunday worship, we go to the altar for Eucharist. We believe that through this Blessed Sacrament the Lord becomes present with us in a special, sacramental way.

We are invited, all of us, to receive in Holy Communion the Body and Blood of the Lord, consecrated as we pray together. Jesus wants to come to us and to be one with us. We do not receive Holy Communion as a reward for doing something, for living a good life. Rather the Lord Jesus truly wants to be part of our Christian life, guiding and strengthening us to live as true disciples of the Savior. Each Sunday, we take the Lord Jesus with us out into our homes and streets to be the power to live well and to do all we can to transform the world into a place of love and peace.

So, as we pray today, the Lord asks us, “Will you also leave me?” just as he asked the apostles on that day. It’s not the Lord who leaves us, but we who may leave him. We need to make our own Peter’s profession of faith. Every Sunday we get a chance to do so. We need the Lord to strengthen our faith. Lord, confirm my decision to stay with you.

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