August 14, 2018
1Joshua 24:1–2a, 14–18, Ephesians 5:6–21, John 6:51–69
Alleluia. Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Alleluia.
In the old TV show, “Ma and Pa Kettle,” there is a scene where mayor and other town officials come to the Kettle farm in order to deliver a telegram. When Pa Kettle finally receives the telegram, he tosses it into a pile of old telegrams without even reading it. The mayor is shocked and inquires about Pa’s behavior. To which, Pa replies, “I don’t want to read it, it might be bad news.” Much to his surprise, however, the telegram was sent to inform Pa that he had won a brand new pre-fabricated house. This was still a disappointment, though, since he had entered the contest to receive a new tobacco pouch and that is what he really wanted.
No one likes to hear bad news and most people dread having to be the person who delivers it. Sometimes, that bad news isn’t even bad news, it is simply news that doesn’t meet the expectations we have for a situation; we really wanted a new pouch but all we received was a new house. This is the problem faced by those who were following Jesus in today’s Gospel lesson. They had specific expectations regarding what was good news from Jesus. They wanted him to make their lives easier by providing them with food each and every day. Instead, Jesus wanted to give them his flesh and blood so they could live forever. Those who heard this were appalled- they even called it a hard saying- to hear that Jesus was offering himself to be their meal. Imagine their disappointment. They were going to lose out on a lifetime of all you can eat, free bread because Jesus was going to give them something that didn’t meet their expectations. This does serve as a stumbling block for many people. The promises that God gives to us through his son do not always match what we want from God. So we stop listening and wander away. The reality of those promises, however, is that they are so much more than we could ever think of asking for; they are greater than what we could ever imagine. Thank goodness God’s promises are not limited to what we would ask for; if they were, we would have settled for so much less.
Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life, grant us to know Your Son, Jesus, to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow His steps in the way that leads to life eternal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing! Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.