Christ handing the keys to Saint Peter, ceiling at San Silvestro church, Rome,
painted and parcel gilt wood ceiling,
painted in 1869,
© Church of San Silvestro al Quirinale in Rome, Italy

Christ handing the keys to Saint Peter, ceiling at San Silvestro church, Rome,
painted and parcel gilt wood ceiling,
painted in 1869,
© Church of San Silvestro al Quirinale in Rome, Italy

Gospel of 20 April 2024

Peter answered 'You have the message of eternal life, and we believe'

John 6:60-69

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?

‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.

‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.

Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’

Reflection on the Church Ceiling

Today’s Gospel reading captures a moment of crisis for the followers of Jesus. Some of those who have already responded to the call of Jesus to follow him and become his disciples are now struggling to accept the claims he has been making for himself, in particular his claim to be the Bread of Life that has come down from heaven, and as we saw yesterday, that his blood was the real drink. In response, Jesus wonders aloud what they will make of his further claim to ‘ascend to where he was before’, to return to the Father who sent him through his forthcoming death and resurrection. Surely all this was way too much information for them to take in?

John the evangelist tells us that, after this exchange, ‘many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him’. Jesus could not and would not hold on to disciples against their will. There will always be people, and often good people, who will leave the community of disciples, for a variety of reasons. We have all become aware of that phenomenon in more recent years, especially with so many people not attending mass anymore. We can all feel impoverished when those who have been part of our community of faith no longer wish to remain so.

At this moment of crisis, Jesus took what might seem to us to be a risk. He asked those left behind, ‘What about you? Do you want to go away too?’ Jesus wanted them to stay but he needed them to want to stay. The question ‘Do you want to go away too?’ is addressed to each one of us. Today, we each have to give our own personal response. It would be hard to find a more appropriate response to Jesus’ question than the that of Peter, which we are invited to make our own at every Eucharist, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe, we know that you are the Holy One of God’. That is why Jesus handed him the keys to build his church on earth. We see this moment beautifully carved and depicted in the ceiling of the Church of San Silvestro al Quirinale in Rome.

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Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
29 days ago

St. Peter, the Rock, pray for us and pray for the Church.

I have attached an interesting video from the Chosen, if anyone is interested.
It shows how St. Peter was not perfect, but he was still chosen by our Christ.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
29 days ago
Reply to  Jamie Cardinal
Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
29 days ago

Romans 8:31-39

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Send your Holy Spirit into my heart.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
29 days ago

Each morning I try to guess the time and geographic origin of the artwork selected by Father Patrick. Today, I guessed Italy, but I was about four centuries off on the date. The level of detail in this ceiling stuns me. A close-up enlargement reveals hundreds of symmetrical figures and objects in the borders. The red border forms a cross. What do the blank, white banners held between the cherubs symbolize? Was this ceiling produced in one year by one artist?

“…no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.” I need to understand these words. Father God, please allow me to come to Jesus.

Carol Heise
Member
Carol Heise
29 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

Dear Mark…you have already been allowed to come to Jesus. Realize that and realize it now. Accept it and know that you have been touched by the Holy Spirit. Remember the thunderbolt I told you about a few days ago ? Read about what happened to Saul, who became Saint Paul on the road to Damascus. Your eyes will be opened, as were his, then you will know. God is with you, Mark.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
28 days ago
Reply to  Carol Heise

Dear Carol, Your clarity, explanation, and faith helps me. Thank you. Peace, Mark

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

These are really difficult words, Mark. They seem to take away our free will. But contradicted by “whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Is it Stainer’s Crucifixion that has such solemn music accompanying the repetition of “shall not perish”, in my memory it is in a minor key. Chazbo might know….. If prayers are to be answered, our prayers to this end are the most vital possible, and if asked with a full heart, surely they will be granted…. ✝️

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
28 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Dear Noelle, I will look for Stainer’s Crucifixion. I try to grow my understanding of the Gospel each day; thank you for helping me. Peace, Mark

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago
Reply to  Mark Crain

I’m glad you mentioned the ceiling, Mark, because it is most impressive, but I didn’t feel up to remarking on its complexities. From a distance it looks almost like Toledo work. Very interesting the blank banner, forever a mystery.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago

“I am all at once what Christ is, | since he was what I am, and
This Jack, joke, poor potsherd, | patch, matchwood, immortal diamond,
Is immortal diamond.”
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Elvira
Member
Elvira
29 days ago

No one likes to know that he has to die to bear fruit and many disciples abandoned Him because they did not understand his words. Yes, it is true that today there is a massive abandonment of the Church …. There is a saying that if the charism, “Jesus”, is institutionalized forming the Church, His message is perverted… We have to think about that when we complain about the shepherds and also about us, the sheep. The Church always needs to be reformed, but it does not help to blame those above, because we all have responsibility and many times we are not an example that attracts others… Today’s text allows us to meditate on how we can help the Church to prevent it from falling apart.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
29 days ago

Peter always seems to sum up what we’re thing, doesn’t he? “Lord, to whom should we go?”
Who has a better pathway?
None that I’ve found…

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
29 days ago

To be fair it’s not surprising so many people leave/left. The general message seems to be that the purpose of creation was for us to have a fairly impoverished life and give up everything (as was said to the rich man) to gain eternal life.

What a strange concept to create something that has to have a fairly miserable time in order to get something better.

Also in order to give everything up you have to have something in the first place. It never mentions in the new testament where Jesus and his nomadic disciples got money to live but presumely from people who worked hard to further their life?

Add to this the blood thirsty requirements for the Messiah to have our sins forgiven, it’s a lot for people to understand now never mind people 2,000 years ago. It certainly gives me a headache!

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago
Reply to  Thimas@

Morning Thimas. This extract from an article ‘Funding Jesus’ on the CNN web-site is interesting, and a lot longer than shown here.
‘”Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.”
So, according to Luke, women whom Jesus had healed in turn provided for him out of their “resources,” with Mary Magdalene and Joanna capturing our attention – one by virtue of her husband, and the other, by her stature in the story of Jesus.’

I really don’t think we’re told to have a miserable time on this earth! “I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” Have a nice day!

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
29 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago
Reply to  Thimas@

Everyone, Thimas? Needful for some, depends on what you do with your wealth. Maybe the rich young man just made a virtue of his virtue, without getting stuck into the society that surrounded him…..using his wealth for others. Was it an individual or a universal challenge? An old question.

George K
Member
George K
29 days ago
Reply to  Thimas@

For me, perfection is not an option. I am a human being, not a perfect being. It is my understanding ‘perfect’ may also be translated as ‘completeness, maturity, or moral character’.

Jamie Cardinal
Member
Jamie Cardinal
29 days ago
Reply to  George K

“Gentlemen, we will chase perfection, and we will chase it relentlessly, knowing all the while we can never attain it. But along the way, we shall catch excellence.”
― the great football coach, Vince Lombardi (1913-1970)

Elvira
Member
Elvira
29 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Dear Noelle, I really liked your reflection: Life and Abundance!!. Let me add something about the rich young man
In the four Gospels we can see that Jesus did NOT ask all his followers to renounce their possessions. Not all people are as burdened by their possessions as the rich young man. In this case, their strong attachment to wealth stands out. The rich young man approached Jesus and asked, “What can I do to obtain eternal life?” Jesus answers that he must keep the commandments and he answers that he has. In the Gospel of Matthew the young man asks Jesus, “What do I still lack?”. This question is the key, it shows that he knows what he’s talking about. We can do anything that looks good, but deep down we know something is still missing. Jesus responds, “Go and sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in the heavens; and come, follow me”
Now 2000 years later we can ask: Is our treasure in our wealth, work, performance and skills or in retirement funds? These are good things (they are gifts from God), but they are secondary to seeking first the kingdom of God and a right (just) relationship with God and other people. May we sustain our wealth and our work with open hands lest, like the rich young man, we end up turning away from God with sadness.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago
Reply to  Elvira

It’s what we lack as individuals that’s important, not what the next man lacks – that might be something very different. Thank you for your clarity, Elvira. 🌟🌻

George K
Member
George K
29 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

I believe I am a spiritual being having a human experience. My thoughts on death are that as long as I want something more from life before I die—whether it’s greater wealth, more pleasure, a desire for revenge, or just more of anything—I will have a fear of death. Jesus urges me to let go of my selfish longings so I will be free to enjoy each day as it comes. As death nears, I can give up my human life without regret, carrying with me my true possessions: love for God and for God’s creatures and God’s creation. When death calls, I can say, “I am ready.” I can leave this envelope that is my body and return to God’s Spiritual Essence.

George K
Member
George K
29 days ago
Reply to  George K

Thoughts from a devotion I get…There are two paths, one up and one down. We have been given free will to choose either path. We are captains of our souls to this extent only. We can choose the good or the bad. Once we have chosen the wrong path, we go down and down, eventually to death. But if we choose the right path, we go up and up, until we come to the resurrection day. On the wrong path, we have no power for good because we do not choose to ask for it. But on the right path, we are on the side of good and we have all the power of God’s spirit behind us. I pray that I may be in the stream of goodness. I pray that I may be on the right side, on the side of all good in the universe.

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago
Reply to  George K

👍 George

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago
Reply to  George K

John the Baptist talking about Jesus: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This is what you’re saying, I think George?

George K
Member
George K
29 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Precisely, Noelle.

Mark Crain
Member
Mark Crain
28 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Exactly!

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
29 days ago
Reply to  Thimas@

Well pack the whole thing in then Thimas!!!! You’ll have plenty of company!!!

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
29 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

You don’t mean that surely?
Morning Chazbo.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
29 days ago

Well yes….Thimas finds nothing but negatives in the Christian message so why hang around listening to it? You can turn everything round into a negative, can you not?
Funny thing is that I woke up in a good mood this morning which has vanished like the morning dew now! If I hear negative messagesin a Christian environment then …..where are we? I don’t go to church to hear sermons full of doubts and caveats. I want to have a positive spin on the message.
For that matter it’s the same when in business and marketing. You have to believe in the product and if you don’t’ you aren’t much use in the company 🫤

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
29 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Business and marketing doesn’t sound like giving up everything and following Jesus 😄. But cheer up Chazbo it’s only me you don’t have to listen to what i say, i just put it out there hoping to be corrected if i’m saying something that was not said in the gospel correct me.
“If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. ” You can’t be more clear than that!

Thimas@
Member
Thimas@
29 days ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Yes i don’t think i have much hope 😄however the good news is that where I am going most of my friends will have gone and the others will follow! So as you say I should have good company.
At the movement i am waiting for lost bag which are still in Dubai I think..computer says “no” .. so an act of God would be useful 🙏😄

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
29 days ago
Reply to  Thimas@

They’ve all gone into a void which will end in a cold crypt with no hope or joy. Just a needle saying time to go now mate. You’re no use to anyone and you’re using up your kids’ inheritance.
At least Manny Shinwell said to Chamberlain “In God’s name go!”

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
29 days ago
Reply to  Thimas@

Morning Thimas.
I didn’t think that anyone had to be impoverished, nor sponge off others 🤔 I thought the whole principle of the early communities was that they shared everything in common…?
Love is basically Christ’s message and let’s face it, the love of wealth/personal success would supplant that. No harm in having much as long as you are open handed with it is what I think He means.
People are leaving these days for all sorts of reasons but I don’t think some sort of perceived requirement to lead a life of poverty is one of them!
Going on to your other point, bloodthirsty sacrifices to God was what they were all about then – be it a lamb, turtledove, bullock, or a man on a cross…I don’t get it. Seems very pagan to me. That is a tall order, so I’m with you there.

Last edited 29 days ago by Patricia O'Brien
Elvira
Member
Elvira
29 days ago

Very wise words Patricia. With regard to the bloody sacrifices, I wonder. How would Jesus have died if he had come to the world today?

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago

Afternoon Patricia. Thecrucifixion took place in a brutal, pagan world, & it would have been understood by the people of the time, just as a blood sacrifice to placate the Roman gods would have been accepted…..no?

Rya Lucas
Member
Rya Lucas
29 days ago

No Lord, I don’t want to go. I believe and I love you! I always have loved you, even the years that I did not go to church. I feel happy and safe with you and Your Father.

Monica Doyle
Member
Monica Doyle
29 days ago

May my response to Jesus, echo Peter’s this day….As Augustine says, “You have made us for yourself, Oh Lord…”

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