“Many love Jesus, as long as they do not meet with any adversity.” (IC 2,11,1) | “Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who can accept it?’ … As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him.” (Jn 6:60,66)

Kempis is, of course, right on the money, when he says that being close to the Lord is much easier and more appealing when one is satisfied in body and spirit and when he is contemplating heaven (2,11).  Yet, bring on desolation, suffering, and difficulties, and Jesus is often forgotten (at best — “I will take care of this myself”) and tossed aside (at worst — “where is God in all this mess?”).

Today, the Bread of Life discourse is wrapped up (Jn 6:60-69).  Jesus, challenging His followers to set their sights higher, that is, on spiritual matters, finds that many are unable to do so, thus they leave Him to go back to their previous lives.  Peter, representing the twelve apostles, remains steadfast in His trust of his Master, most certainly not understanding much, if anything, He just conveyed, but demonstrating faith in the man to whom he had grown very close and whom he had come to know so well.

Adversity comes part and parcel with authentic Christian living.  In a culture that continues to grow increasingly hostile toward the Truth (see Jn 14:6, Jn 18:38, and Rom 1:18-32), we must not find following Jesus too “hard.”  Rather, we are to stand firm in our resolve to embrace the Lord’s will for us, which includes showing our belief in Him by obeying His commands.  No compromise is permitted in this regard.  When we are challenged within and without to abandon Jesus, to return to a life without Jesus, we must eschew such a temptation.  Like Peter, we must declare:

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.

JESUS OF NAZARETH ROBERT POWELL as Jesus with JAMES FARENTINO as ...Still from Jesus of Nazareth

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