Some Walked Away

Yesterday's Gospel reading had me thinking about those who walked away from Jesus because they found his teachings too hard. There are three ways to go when you find the Church's teachings difficult. You can walk away or you can work to keep yourself in line with Jesus's teachings. The third and one of the more popular responses today is you stay in the Church and you work to change the meaning of Jesus' words and recategorize your sin as actually a long unrecognized good:
Many of Jesus’disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?

What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 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. But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
Now imagine, if you will, more of a modern spin on this. Some of the disciples find some of Jesus' teaching hard but they don't leave. They stay. They stay and proclaim loudly that they are a disciple of Jesus but they set up factions within the group of those who still follow Jesus.

While Jesus is talking, they're standing off to the side explaining that wasn't exactly what Jesus meant and here's really the main point. They explain that they believe in most of what He says, you know all the parts about healing the sick and not judging others but not much of the other stuff.

No. Back then there weren't any Apostles for Free Choice, Voice of the Apostles, of Future Jesus clamoring that Jesus wasn't really on target on a few things. Now in fairness back then there was a small group called Judas for Selling Jesus for Thirty Pieces of Silver but it had a very small membership at the time. (And from what I read it didn't end well)

All this is not to say that those who stay don't sin. We are a Church of sinners. We accept those who who regularly hurt Jesus. But the Church asks that we don't seek to modify what it is the Church holds as true to recategorize our sin as acceptable or perhaps even good according to what Jesus really meant.

If we're going to do that, it might be better if we'd just walked away because at least then your choices are clear and you have the options of staying away or returning and accepting the teachings. And you avoid seting yourself up as the sole arbiter of what Jesus really meant.


  1. Indeed. Those of us who perfer to serve 180-proof Church teaching straight, no chaser often have to endure someone trotting out John 8, the passage about the woman caught in adultery about to be stoned. They seem to think that telling hard truths is equivalent to stoning. As if Our Lord at the end didn't say, "Go and sin no more", but instead said, "Go, adultery is not really a sin anyway. It's just one of those arbitrary patriarchal constructs. Besides, we can find examples in nature of animals with muliple sex partners. So, if you want to have sex with someone other than your husband, it's ok as long as you are loving."

  2. If I may, how about the other reading at mass yesterday from Ephesians 5 ("Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord.", etc.)? What did your priest/deacon say about that reading?

    (I asked the same question three years ago on my friends blog and this year on mine.)

  3. The message Jesus gave that many walked away from was directly concerning the Holy Communion and Transubstantiation.This could not be accepted.The fruits of Vatican II helped in a negative way to further today's diciples to walk away.The Modern Mass is NOT the Mass which all the SAINTS worshipped God with.

  4. At the end, everyone will be judged in the tribunal of their conscience. However, one still has the duty to form one's conscience. And following the Magisterium is a safe bet b/c in the words of St. Ambrose, "Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, ibi Deus." It is definitely not "Ubi Barackus..." On a side note, liberals go ahead of Peter; reactionaries stay behind him. Both need to recalibrate their stances to be right with the Lord -IMHO.

  5. Love the writings guys! Keep up the great work! Rock on!

    Hey totally off subject, but could you tell me where to find that link to the Magic Trick with the clothes? (anyone who saw it would know what I was talking about...)
    God Bless!

  6. I'll see if I can find it. I'll let you know.

  7. Thanks for writing this. I loved it.

  8. Anonymous @11:48 that is so true. And it would appear the Holy Spirit is now overpowering the forces of darkness which have sought to downplay the role of the eucharist in our modern era. God bless our Pope!

    As an aside, when the Jehova's Witnesses come to my door (about once every other month now, I think they must get extra points if they convert someone with Catholic Saints' prayer cards in the window) that's how I always make them sputter and walk away smiling; a) I mention that I belong to the church founded by God on pentacost with no broken line of apostolic succession and b) that we follow the gospels and Jesus' commands to the word, citing John 6:53.

    Of course they start babbling like, "well, Jesus said he was a door/vine as well so it is figurative." To which I say, "Jesus not only says He is the bread of life 3 times in this chapter, but commands us to eat His flesh. He couldn't be more clear. You can obey or walk away." At this point they usually smile and walk away.

  9. I always feel fearful.

    What God asks is hard. He asks all of us to take up our cross, and all crosses lead one place, to Him, but through the crucifixion.

    I know I screw up, by my righteousness when I'm ontrack with what I do, and by my sloth when I fail to do what pride and righteousness would ordinarily prompt.

    It is so easy to become the pharasiee, and it is just as easy to become frustrated by all that is required if we would be perfect in our love of others.

    There is no down or "Me time," because we're supposed to pour ourselves out for others, and that is hard hard hard hard hard.

    It's right. It even must be joyfully done. It is a luminous life, but it's still a joyfully carried cross that is hard.


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