Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

John 6:60-69 This is Hard

John 6:60-69  This is Hard
Many of the disciples of Jesus were listening and said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
There are many things in life that are shocking and true.  There are many things people say that are hard to accept yet are true. 

Recently, I went on a three day vacation with another priest.  I took a cut-rate airline to keep my vacation cheap.  Little did I know that it would end up being the most expensive trip of my life.   They told me that my flight would be delayed until the next day; that I wouldn't make it back to Dallas until the next evening.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing!  They told me that there was nothing they could do; that I was stuck here.  Hard to believe!  When I protested they left me high and dry.  Hard to believe, yet true.  I will never fly with SPIRIT airline again!  Stuck, I went to American Airlines and bought a brand new ticket.  They were more than helpful...for five hundred dollars.  I had to pay it.  I had no choice.  I needed to get back before Saturday.  I had two weddings and three Masses to celebrate.  Hard to believe.  When we finally began to taxi away, I thought all my worries were gone.  But then when we taxied back to the gate, because of a mechanical problem, I couldn't believe it.  I wanted to cry.  When they told us that we needed to get off the plane I wanted to curse and yell.  Hard to believe, yet true.  When I finally made it home late Friday night I wanted to kiss the ground.  Hard to believe.
It must have come as a surprise to his disciples to hear their Master speak of his impending doom.  It must not have been easy for any of them to hear the conditions to follow Him:  “Leave all behind and pick up your cross.”    It must have come as a shock when the Lord told them, “Love your enemies” and “Forgive seven times seventy times”, etc.  Hard to believe
“Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you”.  Arguably, none of the above examples compare to the shock of the Lord’s latest revelation. But isn’t the Lord ‘the line’ that connects all the dots to Him since the very beginning of time?  Isn’t he the Alpha and the Omega?  Isn’t He the reason for some of the most bizarre personalities, behaviors and commands found in the Old Testament, especially Moses and Exodus?  Isn’t true slavery the slavery of sin?  Isn’t the “Promised Land” really Heaven?  Is Jesus not the real Moses?  Is the Lord not the true Lamb of God?  Is the Lord not the sacrificial offering, the holocaust that must be consumed before we are declared free?  Is the Lord not the unblemished Lamb that must be eaten before we depart?
He is…and much more.  The Eucharist is the Body, Blood, soul and divinity of our Lord.  Is this so hard to believe?  It is, if you are annoyed with Jesus. 

Everything is hard to accept if the heart is hard and the brain is dead.  When husbands complain about what their wives do, aren't they really complaining about their wives?  When Judas complains about what Christ teaches and commands, isn't he really complaining about God? 

Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.  But there are some of you who do not believe.”  He knew who he was talking about.  The Lord knew that one disciple was already lost, yet still remained.  Judas betrayed the Lord because He was annoyed at the Lord.  He didn’t like what he heard because he didn’t hear what he wanted to hear.  He couldn’t stand the Lord because He couldn’t stand for what Judas stood for.  The Eucharist is the climax of our faith, but it is also the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.    Judas had a problem:  Jesus Christ.  And He is our problem too.
I would love to believe in Jesus Christ.  Really!  But he said something that bothers me.  If only He were just a little bit more  I wouldn't have a problem with the Catholic Church.  Really!  If only she thought a little bit more   Yes, all of us would follow her if she appeared to be a bit more like us, like me rather than like Him.  All of us would love the Lord if only he appeared to be a bit more like us, like me rather than like the Father.
The problem with us isn’t that the Eucharist is hard to believe.  That’s not the problem.  We all have had our share of hard-to-believe-yet-true experiences.  That's not our problem.  Our problem is our lack of faith in the Lord.  That’s our problem!  That’s been the historical problem with Christians.  That’s been the historical problem with non-Christians too.  We all have a problem with God like we all have a bone to pick with our parents.
Martin Luther’s problem wasn’t that the Pope was a sinful man.  For crying out loud, everyone in Rome knew that he was a sinful man, including himself.  The Pope’s problem wasn’t that Luther was a sinful man, even Martin Luther admitted to being a sinful man.  Luther’s problem was the same as the Pope’s:  it was with the Lord.  And both men took out their frustrations on the Lord in the way they lived out their vows.  This is the shocking truth.  Martin Luther felt as if he had been duped by the Lord when he took the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.  He felt as if the Lord had fooled him that stormy night when he asked to be saved.  He was saved, but forgot the part about dying to oneself.  So instead of taking his frustration out on the Lord, he chose to take it out on the Church; to take himself out of the Church.
Is that not our problem?  Do we not start a fight with our Bishops because their a softer target than the Lord?  Is it not easier to say I disagree with the Church than to say I disagree with Christ?
The Church, like the Eucharist, is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  He is the true ‘grain of wheat’ that falls to the ground and dies; but once it dies it bears much fruit.  Our problem with the Eucharist (with Jesus) is the part about being small and insignificant; the part about falling, appearing weak; the part about dying and surrendering; and the part about giving by sacrificing.  Our problem is kind of big, as big as our pride.
It’s no wonder we have a hard time believing in the Eucharist.  But the reason why we have a hard time believing in it is because we all have a hard time living it; doing it.  

The Psalmist asks, How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?  Peter, the Pope, responds, "Master, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life."


  1. Yes, more inspiration from Father "Surprise" Alfonse.  I love how you engage my thoughts...

    Martin Luther is quite a fascinating character of the Protestant Reformation.  It surprises me you think he felt duped by God for his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  He took his monastic life very seriously.  He wanted to do good works  and felt his sinfulness was constantly interfering.  (Don't we all chastise ourselves when we sin?) Luther's "problem" was the handing out of indulgences by the very corrupt Roman Catholic Church.  He loved the Catholic Church and devotions at least in his formative years.  He wanted to see things changed for the better, especially with more study of the bible.  It's not until Calvin and Zwingli we see a complete break away into the Protestant denominations as we know of today.  I see Luther in some respects more Catholic than Protestant.  He saw a need for the Church to carry out Christ's message without simony, indulgences, and other corrupt practices.  He believed the focus should be on God and not man's (or the Church's)  selfish endeavors.  

    How many Judas Iscariots do we come across in our daily lives with harden hearts and dead brains?  How many men and women care more about the human self than the divine self? Too many to count.  This makes me think of all of the atheists in the world who don't want to hear, see, taste, or breathe religion.  They don't like the touchy feely" love thy neighbor" message.  They want to find any excuse to bring down God and all He "stands" for. 

    I can't imagine not believing in Jesus Christ or the hope of things getting better when they aren't so peachy.  I can't imagine a life without the Eucharist to feed my little soul.  How I need to become that tiny little mustard seed in the garden planted in a world made up of thorns and weeds.   Allow myself to die into Christ and be reborn again in his likeness.  Pray for those with harden hearts.  Maybe someday they will accept the shocking truth of Jesus Christ.



  2. What did the priest you were traveling with do? Did he also buy another ticket with American? just curious.

  3. No. He was traveling to Chicago. I had to go to Dallas. He did not miss his connecting flight. DARN!!! ;-)

  4. Whoa...Father Alfonse. You've updated this post since I replied yesterday. (Your trip detail was not there.) I'm relieved you arrived safely back to DFW and on time for weddings/Mass. Uh....Not hard to believe that air travel is **terrible** no matter if you fly el cheapo or el expensiveo!

    Do you mind sharing where you and your priest friend went on vacation?



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