To Whom Shall We Go?

Week of August 26, 2018

We are all on a journey.  Sometimes the journey gets rough.  At those times we are faced with decisions.  Anyone who has done mountain climbing and camping knows at some point in the midst of storms we are called to make a decision.  We now have storm trackers to tell us of upcoming storms.  We have warning signals.  All of these tell us of the potential dangers.   Radars are in place.  At the notification we are invited to take shelter and maybe we alter our plans.  All of this because of approaching danger.

In this case the disciples found the teachings of Jesus hard to accept.  Eating flesh and blood, sacrificing, trusting.  It became too much for them. The storms of following Jesus were too much for them and as the gospel says, many went back to their previous way of life.  What are some of the storms in our faith life?  What are some of the things we find hard to accept?  All of these lead us to decisions.  All of these are necessary for the journey.  News of tragedies at times rock our faith in God’s plan.  A sudden loss, a promotion not given, a situation that becomes too much to handle—in those critical moments we are asked as Jesus asked His disciples, are you going to leave?  There are many hardships in being a follower of Jesus.  What do we do when the storms roll in?

Peter answers, “To whom shall we go?”  Where else is there to go?  This leap of faith, this trust without understanding is pivotal to faith.  Faith is about believing what we cannot understand.  The Christian rock band Mercy Me has a song that speaks of believing.  It is about a person knowing that God can intervene and change the world, but even if God doesn’t, he will still believe.  This is the foundation of today’s Gospel.  This is an all in question, where else would we go?

Jesus is the holy one of God and He has the Words of eternal life.  No storm is to take that away.  Yet this is a very personal step on the journey.  Each person has to do this individually.  No one can do this for us.  It is the difference of knowing about God and believing in God.  Those are two different things.  At a crucial point in our lives the choice is given uniquely to us.

To whom shall we go?  As a person, as a priest, and a believer, my answer is I am not going anywhere; I trust and believe.

Reverend John J. Ouper