The Branch - August 26, 2018
Aug 26, 2018
Many of us can remember a time when Waze, Siri, or Google were not around to give us directions. Now, we hear phrases like “Turn here”, “Your destination is ahead on the left”, or “Recalculating route” just about any time we get in the car.
Today’s readings seem to be the ancient version of GPS voice navigation. Joshua gathered all the leaders of the tribes of Israel and told them: “If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve…” Their decision was binding for their respective tribes and they were expected to go back and lead their people.
St. Paul is a bit more direct. Now, I will be honest, this is not one of my favorite passages from St. Paul and I feel like the whole reading can be summed up from verse 21: “Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.” The entire passage speaks of mutual subordination, not a one way street. (No one wants to go down the wrong way of a one way street!)
Finally, we come to the Gospel of John and the conclusion of the weeks of Bread of Life readings. Even some of Jesus’ disciples thought that he had taken a wrong turn or needed to recalculate the route. They grumbled against Jesus and openly questioned what he was saying. Some chose to go back to their old way of life and abandon Jesus.
The Twelve, led by Peter, stayed true to their faith. “Master, to who shall we go?” What a profoundly beautiful statement by Peter! Jesus was not worried about driving people away. He did not change the message when it became difficult, nor did he give up trying to reveal the Father to everyone who heard his words.
I find myself wondering if Peter understood what he meant when he called Jesus the “Holy One of God”. Did he fully grasp what that meant? Do we? Or is it a question of faith? Like following turnbyturn directions in a car, do we know why we are being led on a certain route over another? Or do we follow it, trusting that it is for the best?
We share the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist as St. Paul said “because we are members of his body.” The body must move together in the same direction. We must learn to set aside our interpretations of what Jesus and the church wants for us.
We must follow Jesus, trusting in him through the mystery of our faith. We listen to his words and eat his flesh and drink his blood so that we may become part of the body of Christ and live in him as he lives in us. If Jesus asks, “Do you want to go away also?”, let us profess our faith in him and follow him anywhere. After all, where else would we go? Our destination lies in Jesus Christ who should always be before us.