Daily Gospel Reflection – Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Bishop Robert Barron
April 29, 2023
Memorial of Saint Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Gospel: Jn 6:60-69
Many of the disciples of Jesus 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 walked with 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.”
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, in today’s Gospel, we learn that many disciples left the Lord because he said they had no life unless they were to eat his flesh and drink his blood.
Why has the gift of the Eucharist been, from the beginning, a source of contention? Why have we, from Jesus’ time to the present day, been fighting over it? Shouldn’t it be the source of our unity and deepest joy? Well, yes. But we can’t overlook the fact that it has always divided—just as Jesus himself divided people: “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
When they heard Jesus lay out the teaching in all of its power, many of them left. In fact, so many left that Jesus wondered aloud to his disciples, “Do you also want to leave?” You get the sense that the whole Church, the whole Christian project, was hanging in the balance.
How wonderful that Peter responds, as he did in the synoptic Gospels to another of Jesus’ probing questions, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” That is the great Catholic answer, the hinge, the cardinal point.