I used to think my life would be shaped by music and its business. But I find that music is only the vehicle in which I may serve God; His gifts given to me, and my hard work developing and employing them for His Kingdom. Hopefully, I am earning my place at the table—not because of the music—but because my spiritual and Communal life are truly shaped by the Gospels. I find this harder sometimes than practicing music for several hours a day. I know that I am a practicing Christian, a practicing Catholic. Again: nothing worth having ever comes easy…
Today in the Gospel (for this Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time), we come to the end of the “Bread of Life Discourse.” Many of Jesus’ disciples were deciding that what Jesus had told them is just too difficult to accept, and “as a result of this, many disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Jesus.” How disappointing to hear this typical human story of turning away, of giving up because it is difficult—if it were easy, though, everyone would do it…and all may have remained. (Something I tell my piano students to encourage them to continue practicing is that if it were easy to play, everyone would be a pianist.)
Today Jesus reminds us that His words are spirit and life. We know that He is the key to salvation: He is the bread of life. He requires peace, justice and forgiveness in all our relationships. Not easy to do and to fulfill, but He is wisdom incarnate! May we all respond as Peter responds to Jesus: “You have the words of eternal life...you are the Holy One of God.”
It seems to me that having this faith is worth all the hard work, the practice, the sacrifice, and the surrender—but remember you will not do this all alone—you have the Holy Spirit within you, and you have the Word to guide you. When things become difficult because your faith challenges you to do the right thing—the hard thing rather than take the easy way—just remember: Nothing worth having ever comes easy.