May 2, 2020 – Saturday of the Third Week of Easter
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050220.cfm)
When you want to buy something, how do you choose that thing (cloths, accessories, or gadgets) which you want to buy? Some wise buyers would go through into a selection process before buying. They would consider the quality, its practicality, the price, the evaluation of other buyers, and the specifications of the item.
However, there are also some of us who actually don’t mind all these steps but would only consider if it is “sabay sa uso” or #trending or popular, used and promoted by famous personalities. Even though they may not be so practical for us but because it’s the trend, we go into that.
This is not far from what we believe and sometimes spread. I am talking with the fake news that surround us. People tend to believe, spread and adhere to fake news because they have become popular and because many have come to believe in them. We should be very careful then because a popular opinion or belief does not always hold the truth.
These situations tell us of our tendency to favor and choose things, people, beliefs and principles according to their popularity. The number of people who tend to favor such thing is very influential for us.
However, this is not the case that happened in the Gospel. Jesus who became popular because of his mighty deeds by healing the sick and multiplying the bread, was becoming unpopular to the people.
Jesus taught the people that He is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven. Through him, by eating his body and drinking his blood, eternal life will be attained. Yet, the people around him found this teaching difficult to accept and offensive. The teaching of Jesus implied that they were to follow Jesus in his ways and to let go of their old ways.
This teaching was understood to be taken with commitment to Jesus. Jesus’ teaching asked them to let go of their old beliefs and renew themselves in God. Yet, they could not let go and accept Jesus fully in their life. They could not believe that God became man and He is with us. They could not believe that God desires mercy and forgiveness of all. Thus, they left Jesus and “returned to their former way of life” because his teachings were unpopular for them.
Jesus confronted his disciples, “do you also want to leave?” In a similar way, Jesus also asks each of us, “Will you also leave? Will you choose me or return to your former way of life?”
This is certainly a plea from Jesus to us, not to leave him because he has so many good things for us. Thus, be careful then, when we also start to murmur just like the disciples of Jesus because our murmurs may lead us farther from the Lord. Our murmurs can become bitter complaints that will drag us back to our former way of life, again just like the many disciples of Jesus who no longer walked with him but succumbed to false gods.
These murmurs in us may tempt us to worship those false gods rather than God, to believe in them rather than in the Word of God, to hold on them rather than trusting in Jesus. These false gods could be our desire to gain power and control, to manipulate and use others. These could also be our own unhealthy behaviors or addictions that we continually keep.
We are challenged and called today to choose and commit ourselves in serving and loving the Lord. Choosing Jesus and committing our work, studies, dreams, hopes and our whole life to Jesus may not be the popular thing to do today. Choosing Jesus and following faithfully his teachings is truly difficult as the people complained. Thus, this Eucharist is our way now to renew once again our commitment as we receive the Lord spiritually and sacramentally. This is our opportunity to choose Jesus today!
Choose Jesus today then, which means to choose life not death, to choose hope not despair, to chose mercy and love not anger and hatred, to choose humility not aggression and to choose warmth and concern not indifference. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR