SAYING IS TOO HARD." (John
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
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
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
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
Such a man is likened to one who
looks at the light but shuts his mind. Believe, open and be
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