In today’s Gospel from John, we hear that many of Jesus’ disciples “returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him” because they found his tachings too difficult. When Jesus asks the Twelve whether they, too, desire to leave him, Peter responds, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are th Holy One of God.”
These are words I come back to again and again. And every time I hear them, they bring solace, they bring strength.
Sometimes it seems like the path of discipleship is too hard. It seems to demand more than we can give. But every time the path ahead seems thorny and difficult, although I may have a moment or two when I say, “wouldn’t it be nice if… wouldn’t life be easier if…”, ultimately I shrug my shoulders and acknowledge that there is no other path. Where else would I go? This is where I belong. If one believes that Christ has the words of eternal life….that He is the Holy One of God, there is no other place for us to be than by His side, whatever cost that may entail.
And when we remember that, somehow everything seems easier. Merely hearing the words inside my head at a difficult moment – “To whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life” – brings some peace, some easing of the anxiety, some lessening of the difficulty. I hear the words and at a very deep level I know I am exactly where I belong.
It may be a tough game sometimes, but it is the only game in town.