Wednesday, 28 March 2012

John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, 
that in me you may have peace. 
In the world you shall have distress: 
but have confidence, 
I have overcome the world.

I read a chapter (or less if it's John's Gospel) from the Bible after supper (dinner/tea wherever you're from) to the kids each evening.

This has been a great experience for me, because I have to read slowly and often explain what's happening to them. And, I know this is going to sound sickeningly hokey, seeing their bright little faces as they listen with total trust I am utterly aware of the magnitude of what I am doing: handing on Jesus to them through the Word. Then one of them sticks their finger in their ear and inspects the contents of their fingernail - but still the principal remains.

We've been working through the discourses of John and we are almost at the Passion, just in time for Holy Week.

A few days ago we read the Bread of Life Discourse and I was struck by the plainness (clarity) and force of Jesus' words: I am the Bread of Life. And the words that would have been repugnant to observant Jews listening to Jesus.

Eat my body,
Drink my blood

It is forbidden for Jews to consume blood, and the thought of eating someone's body would have been repulsive to them. 

But Jesus repeats,

54 Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.
    55He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
    56For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed.
    57He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him.
    58As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me.

Many of the disciples left at that time, but when asked if he was going to leave too Peter replied: "Lord, to whom shall we go"

It struck me recently that the present world finds this command of Jesus to be similarly repugnant to the modern way of thinking. 

At the March 24 “Reason Rally” in Washington, D.C., an estimated 20,000 atheists and agnostics heard author and activist Richard Dawkins encourage mockery of Catholic beliefs and those of other religions.

“Don't fall for the convention that we're all 'too polite' to talk about religion,” Dawkins said, before urging rally attendees to ridicule Catholics' faith in the Eucharist.
“Religion makes specific claims about the universe which need to be substantiated, and need to be challenged – and if necessary, need to be ridiculed with contempt,” he told the cheering crowd on the National Mall.
“For example, if they say they're Catholic: Do you really believe, that when a priest blesses a wafer, it turns into the body of Christ? Are you seriously telling me you believe that? Are you seriously saying that wine turns into blood?”
If the answer is yes, Dawkins suggested atheists should show contempt for believers instead of ignoring the issue or feigning respect.
“Mock them,” he told the crowd. “Ridicule them! In public!”

Which brings me back to Christ soothing words at the kitchen table tonight:  

In the world you shall have distress: 
but have confidence, 
I have overcome the world.

Peter is right: Lord, to whom shall we go...?


  1. BTW: these words are consoling in my personal and family life too!

    I need to inscribe John 16:33 on my heart.

  2. That is beautiful. These words are very consoling, especially when it's tough to be Catholic. Thank you