August 22, 2009

Walk Your Talk

Finally after five Sundays, this passage brings the sixth chapter of John's gospel to a decisive conclusion. To choose our course: to follow Jesus or abandon Him? It all begun in the multiplication of bread and feeding of thousands. Then three Sundays ago, Jesus bluntly told the crowd of their real reason why they follow Him, they are well fed (John 6:26). But Jesus remained calm and even offered different bread that comes from heaven…Himself.

It was a bombshell to everybody when He said, “You must eat my flesh and drink my blood.” Many of his followers murmured in disbelief, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?" (John 6:60). His words were too much for them to believe. As a result, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Jesus then turned to the twelve, “Do you want to leave?” And Peter answered, “Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68). It was a relief and consolation to Jesus. At least they wanted to follow Him because of Him and not because of the bread he gives. The disciples successfully passed the motivation test.

In today's first reading Joshua tested the Israelites: "Decide today whom you will serve. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” And the people responded without doubt, “We will also serve the Lord, for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:21)

In the midst of our monotonous work, tiring school-work-home routine and never-ending energy sapping challenges we face everyday, we also need to re-affirm our commitment to God and His words every day. Decide whom you will serve. It is in our daily affirmation of our commitment to God that we show our deep love for Him.

I realized that if there’s one thing that pushes us to our limits and challenges our faith, it is our daily grind and work. They purify us. Whether we like it or not, our commitment and dedication to our “de more” (daily ordinary routine/work) defines us as good parents, good religious Sisters, good teachers, and good Christians. To follow Christ, one must take the words of Joshua, “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord for He is our God.” And walk your talk.

But such commitment to the Lord as exemplified by Joshua and his people did not come in handy. It was not a spontaneous lip service to please God. It was the fruit of their reflection as they recall their personal and communal experience of God’s love: “For it was the LORD, who brought us out of Egypt, out of a state of slavery. He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey.” Peter and the disciples have also something to remember with regard to the greatness of Jesus: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Such act of remembering God’s goodness, allows us to rekindle the fire of love within us and prompts us to say “We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” The Psalm today even encourages us to “taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” (Psalm 34).

Let’s encourage each other to have that habit of “recalling” or “remembering” God’s goodness in our prayer. We are good in remembering when it comes to our mistakes and faults, but we are poor in remembering God’s goodness and love to us.

Beginning today, let’s have the habit of remembering and reminiscing God’s goodness in us and in our families. Let it be our prayer. Let the love of God be your “baon” when you go to work, school, or to your apostolate. And you will discover the secret of Joshua and Peter’s quick YES to God. You are God’s children. Walk your talk.

- Fr. Willy M. Samson,SJ
Zamboanga Catedral / August 23, 2009

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