Views from the Pews: We become stronger by listening

Father Paul Dowling
Father Paul Dowling

Over the past few Sundays, in the church, we have been listening to the teaching of Jesus when he calls himself ‘the Bread of Life’.

Chapter six begins with the Feeding of the Five Thousand and after this miracle, Jesus then, referring to himself, says: “I am the bread of life.

“No one who comes to me will ever hunger; no one who believes in me will ever thirst” (Jn 6:35).

This led some to question him and his teaching.

This Sunday we hear the dialogue continuing between Jesus and his followers as some of them start complaining.

“This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?” (Jn 6:60).

At this time in the public ministry of Jesus, a significant number of people who had been following him and counted among his disciples, left him and did not continue to follow him.

So there is a lesson for us in this dialogue; that faith is needed to accept and believe the teachings of Jesus.

Perhaps we can identify ourselves with St Peter when Jesus questions him: “and what about you, do you want to go away too?” (Jn 6:67). Peter says in reply, “to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:69).

So, although some people left the Lord’s company after hearing this teaching that he is the one who has come down from heaven; there were others who were strengthened by hearing these words.

We know that St Peter became a courageous (and flawed) disciple of Jesus.

Maybe we regard ourselves to be like Peter, courageous in our faith and a little flawed but we become stronger by listening to the words of Jesus.

This was the purpose of this teaching; to make his disciples stronger in their faith to continue his ministry throughout the centuries.