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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

 

"THIS SAYING IS TOO HARD." (John 6: 60-66)

They did not understand because they were carnal-minded.  His own disciples, not his enemies, said:  "This is a hard saying.  Who can hear it?"  If his own disciples found it hard, what must His enemies have thought? 

When you hear something you don't understand, you should be more attentive. . .not angry.  But some disciples, not understanding, departed from Him.  Their defect was that they understood according to their desires. 

So Christ immediately showed them their stupidity:  "What if you see Me ascend?  If I give you my flesh piece by piece and you understood, how can I go to heaven whole?  My body would be falling off bit by bit all over."

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing. The 'flesh profiteth nothing' means that the flesh is useless unless quickened by the Holy Spirit.  Just as knowledge puffs up, it is useless without charity.  So knowledge will be profitable only if there is charity.  So add the Spirit to the flesh and it profits very much.  

Christ and the apostles had flesh.  The words of Christ are of the voice of the flesh; the writings of the apostles are through the flesh but only as the Spirit moved it.  But this is not the way Christ gives His flesh. 

Eating of the flesh and drinking of His blood means that we should abide in Him and He in us.  We abide in Him when we are His members and He abides in us when we are His temples.

We become His members when we are united one to the other in the love of God that is poured in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit that makes us living members of Christ.  A limb which is a member of the body is quickened by its soul; but, separated, it is dead.  So with the Christian, he must dread and fear to be separated from Christ, for thus he ceases to be a member of Christ and, therefore, not quickened by the Spirit.  

"My words are Spirit and Life."  My words must be understood spiritually.  If you are carnal, these words will not be spiritual to thee. 

"Why did they not understand?"  Because they did not believe, "Some among you believe not."  "If you believe not, you will not understand."  Let us first adhere to Him in faith so, after, we may be quickened with understanding.  He who resists adheres not and believes not; and, as a result, understands not.  

Such a man is likened to one who looks at the light but shuts his mind.  Believe, open and be illumined. 

Christ knew "who they were that believed and who should betray Him."  Judas was there; he stayed there not to understand the teachings of Christ but to find an opportunity to betray Him.

Christ distinguished those who believed and those who believed not.  They believed, not because it was not given them by the Father.  To believe is given;  so, since it is given, do not be lifted up because what thou hast, thou hast just received.  

St. John Chrysostom

 

 

 

 

 

(03-08-04)

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