We have reached the conclusion of Chapter 6 in the Gospel of St. John. Our Lord has made perfectly clear that He is the bread of life (John 6:48). He did this emphatically. He repeats the teaching numerous times (cf. John 6:53-58). He retracts nothing. He explains nothing away. Even when His listeners express skepticism (John 6:42), our Lord responds, “Stop murmuring among yourselves” (John 6:43).
It is time to stop murmuring. Do you believe or not? Either our Lord is the bread of life or not (cf. John 6:48). Either we remain in Him by eating His flesh and drinking His blood or not (cf. John 6:56). Either “… the one who feeds on [Him] will have life because of [Him],” or not (cf. John 6:57).
The Gospel records how many of His own disciples found this teaching hard to accept (John 6:60). Our Lord said to them, without compromising anything He had taught, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail” (John 6:61-62). To believe the truths that our Lord teaches requires a new way of understanding, one according to “the spirit that gives life,” not the flesh which “is of no avail.” He knew from the beginning that there would be those who would not believe (John 6:64). He even knew who would betray Him (John 6:64). He is not surprised by any of this.
Our Lord turned to the Twelve at this point and said, “Do you also want to leave?” (John 6:67). St. Peter answered, as we all should, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:69). What do we say when offered the bread of heaven?