Jesus, the Good, Noble Shepherd, demonstrates genuine care for His sheep. Thus, they hear His voice and follow Him. Those shepherds, leaders in the Church may fall in the trap of using the sheep to further their careers, their agenda and not Jesus’.
“The Gospel today says that the sheep know the shepherd’s voice. But, can sheep be fooled by someone just imitating the real shepherd? How many eloquent and cleaver preachers have turned out to be charlatans intent on fleecing the flock for their own gain? But, the real voice of our Shepherd Jesus cannot be duplicated. It is a voice we recognize because it speaks not just to our ears but to our heart as well.” Deacon Dick Folger
Decisions, decision, each day followers of Jesus must decide where their loyalty lies. Will we respond like Peter in today’s gospel, or the others who walked away? To accept Jesus or not- that is the ultimate question.
There is as switch starting at verse 51 to the sacrament of the Eucharist. Jesus has not only become flesh but has given His flesh and blood as nourishment to His followers. Together, flesh and blood means the living human being. Baptism, Eucharist and eternal life form a unity for believers. The Bread of Life strengthens believers for the journey whose destiny is eternal life.
Still, at this point in the dialogue, the bread symbolizes Jesus’ teaching. This teaching must impact our lives. It can be shown in generosity to the poor, compassion for the sick and dying, an encouraging word to the despairing, etc. This is the daily bread of Jesus’ teaching that energizes, nourishes, and offers hope.
This passage on resurrection and eternal life cause some to picture heaven as a Place “up There.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Resurrection follows upon union with Jesus: believing in Jesus, following Jesus, and giving of people to Jesus by His Father. Demonstrating ones faith in Jesus while on earth culminates with being with Him forever.
Resurrection and eternal life follow upon union with Jesus. Being with Jesus in faith on earth and demonstrating that faith in obedience to Him culminates in being with Jesus forever. The One who descended from heaven to earth will lead such intimates from earth to heaven.