Jesus then said, “Do you also want to leave?” (John 6:67). Our blessed Lord poises this question to us all and in this moment His words are marked by a particular urgency.
1) From the beginning, the devil has sought to devour and destroy humanity who God dared to fashion in the divine image. Jesus Himself was betrayed by one of His own disciples and rejected in His greatest moment of peril by all but one of His followers. Imagine our blessed Lord’s absolute human heartache when the very ones he had chosen were hiding in the shadows.
2) Since Christ established His Church evil has sought to unleash its fury within the Church. No less an authority than Saint Paul warns us that the spiritual battle that rages is very, very real. “For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12). Saint Paul then continues by instructing us what we must do; namely, “to put on the amour of God…and to hold you ground” (v. 13) and “to hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)
3) The devil despises you and me. The devil loathes Christ’s Church. Jesus Himself promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, emphasizing both His victory and Satan’s relentless fury against the Christ’s Church – that’s us.
4a) Jesus instituted the Holy Sacraments in such a way that the divine power – grace – of the Sacraments does not depend on the interior disposition of the priest. How immensely grateful we all are that the Holy Sacraments themselves make grace radically available and not a mortal person! Said differently, it is by the power of Christ Jesus alone that that Sacraments are real and effective.
4b) Friends, never forsake the Sacraments because you (rightly) do not hold your priest or bishop in high regard. “When Peter baptizes, it is Christ who baptizes. When Judas baptizes, it is Christ who baptizes.” (Saint Augustine, +430).
5) Despite the egregious failures and heinous betrayals of some leaders that have come to light most recently, the fact remains that Christ Jesus Himself established the Church; the Church comes from our blessed Lord. He left us His Church.
6a) If you believe that Christ Jesus instituted the new covenant at the Last Supper and meant what He said and said what He meant when He declared, “this is my Body given for you…this is my Blood shed for you…do this in memory of me” then you know the Holy Eucharist is real and the Catholic Faith is true.
6b) Peter’s response proclaimed last week in the Sunday Gospel is our sincere and genuine acclamation: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:69). Dare to pray these words unceasingly in this especially perilous time.