THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD IN CHRIST
THE HARD SAYINGS OF JESUS
Today’s gospel: John 6:60-69
told his disciples that they would have to eat his body and
drink his blood if they are to have eternal life. That of
course was shocking. “Does this shock you?” (v.61).
If you really understand that Jesus literally means eating
his flesh and drinking his blood, you would be shocked too.
Are we to become cannibals? So “many of his disciples
who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard; who can
accept it?” (v.60). They could not accept his hard saying
and so would have nothing more to do with him. “As a
result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former
way of life and no longer accompanied him.” (v.66).
is the same way with many Catholics today. Not so much with
regard to the Eucharist, because many of them do not understand
it, and many just mindlessly receive holy Communion, not even
being challenged with the reality that the host is the very
body of Christ. But many today reject or ignore the hard teachings
just a small sampling:
Love your enemies
all your possessions.
slapped, turn the other cheek.
yourself and embrace your cross.
of your weakness.
others more important than yourselves.
up with injustice.
is joy in sorrow.
are many more!
Christians do not know about the authentic teaching of Jesus,
preferring to just be content with a so-called personal relationship
with him, being comfortable in enjoying his love and mercy,
and trying to get to heaven in first-class comfort.
do they not know? First, because they do not read the Bible!
Second, because they do read but skip over the hard teachings.
Third, because they do not skip over but try to explain away
what Jesus is saying.
when actually confronted with Jesus’ teaching in a difficult
and challenging situation that they find themselves in, when
counseled about the proper responses to the painful thing
that is happening to them, many Christians reject the way
of Jesus. But confronted with it, they would then choose to
fall away, to lie low, to find a more sympathetic ear, to
not be challenged in their comfortable Christianity. Then
they would find themselves turning to the wisdom of the world
and succumbing to the inclinations of the flesh. Then, not
facing and accepting the hard teaching of Jesus, they would
fall away. “It is the spirit that gives life, while
the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are
spirit and life.” (v.63).
words Jesus has spoken to us are spirit and life! They are
hard, difficult, challenging, and humanly impossible. But
they must be lived out if one is to truly live Christ, experience
the fullness of salvation, and make it to heaven. “Master,
to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Please read my book “Forty Days of Challenge
in the Christian Life.” It talks about and
explains 40 hard teachings of Jesus. Many do not know them
and are not living them out. But if our call is to holiness
and Christian perfection, if we are to be like Christ, nay,
another Christ, then we must face and ultimately embrace the
hard teachings of Jesus. Are you bold enough? Or “Do
you also want to leave?” (v.67).
By the way, each of the 40 articles ends with a starter for
reflection or discussion. This book, with all articles based
on the Bible, would be a good companion in your prayer time.
Take yourself to your own personal 40-day retreat, in the
comfort of your home.
The articles can, and actually should, be taken up in household
meetings. Some of our Household Servants complain that they
have no topics to take up. Well, here are 40 very relevant
topics. I don’t say you have to take them all up in
your households, as there should be other dynamics, but there
is enough material here for over one year of meetings. If
you take these up once a month, you have enough for four years.
is the Conclusion to the book.
The Christian life is an extremely challenging life, having
the highest ideals, being almost impossible to live out. But
this is just fitting for a perfect God, and for those of us
who are His children. Can God expect anything less from His
there are very many Christians today who do not know what
is expected of them. They do not realize the high calling
expected of them. They do not understand the ways of God.
Much less are Christians today striving to meet the challenges
of a life in Christ.
are these challenges? To rest on God. To empty self. To look
to others. To do the work of God. To embrace the cross. To
work at perfection. What people in this world, including Christians,
are rather doing is the opposite. They are depending on their
own abilities and strength. They are filling themselves up
with the things the world offers, including all the filth.
They selfishly look to themselves and neglect the need and
good of others. They are busy engaged in their own desires
and priorities rather than serving God and the Kingdom. They
strive for comfort, convenience, personal satisfaction, a
life of leisure, even hedonism, rather than joyfully embracing
the cross. They remain the imperfect and sinful creatures
that they have become, unmindful of God’s call to Christian
Christians might say this is too much of an indictment, that
indeed they are striving to live good and righteous lives.
But how hard are they striving? How high are they aiming for?
Have they confronted the hard teachings of the gospel? Are
they understanding and facing squarely the challenges of the
are called to be holy as God is holy, to embrace the cross
of our Lord Jesus, to love our enemies, to rejoice in affliction,
to be perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. These are
what define the true Christian. This is the true faith. This
is what it means to live Christ.
yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves.
Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? unless,
of course, you fail the test.” (2 Cor 13:5).
I pray that you do pass the test.