On Sunday, I was deeply moved by the Gospel reading from the Catholic Lectionary. The passage in John 6:60-69 comes at the end of the Bread of Life discourse, a time Jesus lays out the teachings which the Catholic Church interprets as the foundation for our belief that the Eucharist is the true body and blood of Jesus. This teaching was divisive when Christ first spoke the words and remains so today.
As I was sitting in my pew, or more appropriately, as I was hanging off the edge of my pew because the Church was full to overflowing, I felt my soul echoing the words of St. Peter: "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
Over the past few weeks as the news from Pennsylvania came to light, I have experienced so many emotions. What started as disbelief (how can this be?) moved to anger and sadness. Why now? I know that I am not alone in this.
What do we do with this awful news? At first we are tempted to shield our eyes and our ears from the knowledge wanting to flee from discomfort. But staying silent and retreating does not serve us well.
News this awful must move us to act. But what action is appropriate in response to this insidious evil? Looking to the gospel, we receive direction from Jesus's conversation with Peter.
There, we see many disciples leaving Jesus because of the discomfort they experience in understanding His teaching. Thankfully, we see Peter ask a question that we too must ask.
"To whom shall we go?"
We must remember that we pray, attend Mass, and serve others as a response to the love that we have received from God. We do none of these things because of the individuals that God has placed in our path. Our actions are a response to the love of God, not the love of a person. When we are confused, we must look to God and with the help of the Holy Spirit, find Jesus in the pages of Scripture who will remind us that He is the One that will save and protect our souls. He instituted the Eucharist and it is in the Eucharist and prayer that we are connected to Him.
So, today, I will stand with the Church, with the many priests who have dedicated their lives to delivering Jesus to us in the Eucharist. I pray that God's justice is done so that victims will know His unfailing love and that perpetrators and conspirators will recognize how far they have strayed from that love. I pray for eyes to see the truth clearly and the hope to sustain us as we all move forward. I will continue to pray the Precious Blood of Jesus Prayer found above and will add this prayer from Pray More Novenas.
May God be with each of us as we navigate the new path ahead.