The passage from John’s Gospel marks a low point in the active ministry of Jesus. The people have seen healing miracles and the multiplication of the fishes and loaves, but when they hear the Lord’s teaching about the Eucharist they turn away. It is in this rock-bottom moment that Peter reminds us that we face hard times with the power of our faith in Christ.
There is a cost to following the Lord: sometimes we must endure the hardship of hate in this world and contend with forces that would seek to destroy the goodness in our lives. Yet we do not stand alone; Jesus Christ gives us the strength we need to face this hardship with the power of his grace.
Suffering, for all its challenges and burdens, is a part of human life. How do we face it? How do we find the strength and wisdom to keep going? When we bring our faith in Jesus Christ into the center of our lives we find the courage and conviction to continue on as the Lord guides us through this life to the life to come.
These two great saints made an enormous impact in the Church, even as they encountered hard work and confronted their own weaknesses and sins. May we look to their example and trust in the Lord for the grace we need to face the challenges of life.
Chosen by God does not mean that life will be easy; on the contrary, it will be hard! We know from experience that there are times when we pay the price for doing the right thing, and as we follow Jesus Christ we know that we will meet opposition and difficulty…yet with the Lord’s grace we will be given what we need to keep going.
The death of John the Baptist recalls the fact that doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason does NOT mean that life will always be easy. In fact, our faith in Jesus Christ will sometimes put us squarely in the face of opposition…and we recognize that we might suffer even as we serve the Lord with all our heart.
The readings reveal two aspects of the Church: growing & glorified. Through the times of both blessing and burden the command of Christ to Love shapes our lives as disciples, and directs us to love each and every day.