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Despite the words of so many bishops and priests, Our Lord was neither "nice," nor was he "tolerant." There are several "take it or leave it" moments in the Gospel, and the most important is the Lord's doctrine on the Holy Eucharist.
After the passage of nearly 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has consistently reinforced this doctrine, but the situation has not changed. Catholics — including priests and bishops — are still walking away from the Lord; but this time, they still claim to follow Him. They dare to call themselves Catholic while despising and spurning His teachings.
In the Gospel, Our Lord said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." And in another place, He says, "If anyone is willing to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
Towards the end of His public ministry, Our Lord had just fed thousands of people who now looked upon him as One who would take care of their worldly woes.
He told them they could have "true bread from Heaven," a bread that would nourish their souls. When they asked for it, He said, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst."
Many of his listeners became incredulous, claiming they knew Joseph, his father, and his parents. But rather than trying to "accompany" their doubt in His divinity, the Judge of Heaven and earth doubled down:
Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert, and they died. This is the bread which descends from Heaven, so that if anyone will eat from it, he may not die. I am the living bread, who descended from Heaven.
His listeners again murmured against Him, completely rejecting His claim to divinity and asking, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Rather than commanding they be consumed in a hail of fire and brimstone, Our Lord made Himself completely clear to them:
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
The Gospel goes on to say, "many of his disciples went back, and they no longer walked with him." It quotes them: "This saying is difficult ... who is able to listen to it?"
Turning to the Apostles, Our Lord asks, "Does this offend you? ... Do you also want to go away?"
He was unwilling to change, explain or water down His teaching in order to keep even his closest friends from walking away. Seeing the mob leaving, a mob that was willing to crown Him their king as long as he kept their bellies full, the Apostles would have a compelling reason to doubt.
But Peter spoke up for them all, "Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have believed, and we recognize that you are the Christ, the Son of God."
But at least those people, who at the time walked away from God, didn't claim to still follow Him while preaching their own Gospel in Christ's name. Unfortunately, that's the great scandal in the Church today. At least Martin Luther had the decency to leave the Church and start his own. It didn't save him, but at least he was consistent.
Learn more by watching The Download—Walking Away.
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