Year B - Pentecost +13 or Energy to Witness 13
August 26, 2015
Again we stop short of Jesus in order to protect Jesus.
We have just come through a dispute within Jesus’ religious community, the Jews. They are arguing over a metaphor used by Jesus, “I give my flesh to be eaten by you.” This affirmation of so living together we might feast on an abundance of enough is not easy to talk about. In our day, if you say this straight out you are immediately labeled a socialist. Say it aslant and you are dismissed for any number of reasons essentially saying you are unreasonable, naive.
The mystery of living abundantly is not reducible to ritual or sacrifice. Let the arguments commence.
Because we are each immersed in an institutionalized culture or religion, we can follow someone like Jesus, even as a disciple of a new way or promise. Being a disciple, though, is more than giving assent. This can be seen as Jesus’ disciples walk away when talk of deep community and a full-investment in being Partners becomes clear.
This is not a passage about food or right memes/framing. It is a story about the difficulty of living abundantly in the midst of betrayal.
Yes, people leave when challenged to live giving their flesh to be eaten by those who betray them, don’t understand them.
Yes, people stay without understanding. They continue to find meaning even if it is misoriented.
Some leave saying, “This is no way to Heaven.” Though not recorded, in their upset they may not have heard Jesus say, “You’re right, it is only a way to Paradise on earth.”
Some stay without hearing this either. They are still betting they will get a pass into Heaven—”Where can we go, you have words of eternity (Holy, Heaven).”
Here ends the reading—on a high note of heavenly access.
What we miss when stopping here is Jesus saying, “Oh yeah? You are eating my flesh here. My best allies are also my best betrayers. I’ve opted to Partner with you. Even though many walk away, my danger comes from those who stay to suckle at my breast without the transformation to have their flesh eaten in turn, without Partnering with their betrayers.
Jesus was not just speaking about Judas Iscariot but about Peter and the rest, about me, about you.
Extend the reading; extend your life.