Fr Paul Gooley reads from the Gospel of John (6: 60-69) in which some of the disciples of Jesus found his teaching too difficult to accept and turned their back on him. When Jesus asked the twelve did they want to leave, Simon Peter answers, ‘“Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life and we believe, we know you are the Holy One of God.”

Fr Paul says throughout the Gospel of John, a great division is taking place between those who accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Wisdom of God, the Light of the world, the Good Shepherd, the King of the Jews, the Lamb of God, and those who do not accept.

The marriage-feast at Cana, where the disciples believe and see the glory of Jesus, is immediately followed by the rejection by the custodians of the Temple.

Then Nicodemus comes by night and tentatively approaches the light, while the Samaritan joyfully accepts him and announces him to her fellow townsfolk.

Later in the Gospel we will see the stark division growing ever stronger between the sick man at the Pool of Bethzatha and the Man who was born Blind, on the one hand, and the Pharisees on the other.

Finally, the gentile, Pilate, declares Jesus to be king, while the Jewish authorities reject any king but Caesar.

Now, as the conclusion of the revelation of Jesus as the Wisdom of the Father and the Bread of Life, comes the sad moment of the division between the disciples, when some find the message too fierce, too hard, and walk away, while Peter in the name of the faithful disciples makes his moving and loving act of faith, ‘you have the words of eternal life’.

In all this, Fr Paul says, the choice is being put before us too: how deep is our faith, how firm is our commitment? It is the ultimate choice in life; there is no sitting on the fence. And the choice must be renewed each and every day.