In Sunday’s Gospel we learn of how, after listening to Jesus teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum, many of his disciples found his words difficult to the extent where they could no longer be Jesus’ disciples. You see, Jesus was teaching them about the sacrament of Holy Communion, of eating and drinking his flesh and blood. To many, this was going too far. Such a teaching went beyond sound reasoning and common understanding. However, Jesus was not teaching or advocating that his disciples practice cannibalism. Rather, he was speaking of living in relationship with Him as God’s Holy One who would open the door to the Father.
The gospel tells us, that those who were following Christ (disciples), were abandoning Him, so He asks the twelve disciples if they too wished to go away from Him. Peter, being the spokesperson for the other disciples responds, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
So, it was with Peter and his companions; so, it is with us also; that faith and believing take precedent over and prior to knowledge and understanding. We do not know and understand in order to have faith and believe. Rather, it is the other way around. We have faith and believe in order to know and understand. This comes from Peter’s confession as well, when he says: “We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Belief comes first, then the knowing. This truth is born out further as we read the whole story of Christ and His disciples in the gospels. Overall, we notice that it is not until after Christ’s resurrection that the disciples really knew and understood what Jesus was talking about before he died and predicted his passion and resurrection. So, it is with us too, that we believe and have faith in Jesus long before we completely know and understand Him. In fact, our knowledge and understanding of Him is always growing and maturing as we take practical steps of faith in our daily living.
We, by following Jesus and being committed to Him like Peter and his friends, are able to make our life count. A committed life can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary by investing time, talents, gifts and resources to work for the good of one and all. When we are committed to Jesus, we can leave a beautiful legacy of faith, hope and love for others that have the potential of lasting not only a lifetime, but into eternity. Peter’s confession then reminds us all that by being committed to Christ our lives can make a difference in the church and in the world.