Faith: Vital Choice and Decisive Profession
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” The statement by Saint Peter in response to Christ’s question is really the solemn declaration of the Christian who has made the vital choice with regard to whom or what they consider as the most important value in his or her life.
Facing the crisis of faith in the mystery of the Bread of Life which was revealed by Christ to be His flesh and blood, many of the disciples left because they were unable to overcome the shocking truth that in order to have eternal life they would become cannibals—eating human flesh—an obviously grave violation of Mosaic laws.
In fact, we have many choices to make. We have to choose where to take our study in order to insure a bright future. We have to choose where to apply for a job in order not only to earn a decent living but also to improve our career. We have to choose the right person with whom we invest our money in the hope of great success. We have to choose the only man or the unique woman for whom we would never regret living and even dying. However wise and careful we were, we did make mistakes and even deadly mistakes. We have to learn again and again to grow up in this world with costly lessons.
With regard to eternal life, each and one us of us needs being more serious in making our choice, knowing that we are given very little chance to do so.
Let us listen to Saint Peter who explained the reason why he decided to stay. “You have the words of eternal life”, he said to Christ.
This was his choice. This was also his decision. But this was not a choice and decision out of lightheartedness at all. It was a very serious, very critical and very responsible choice because Saint Peter must have thought over and over on the person of Christ and his mission after years of listening to and following the latter in order to know who He really was and what authority He had in connection with the promise of eternal life which the Lord God alone can offer to human beings.
The choice of Saint Peter was vital because he offered his life in exchange for just a promise which he was not sure if it would one day come true. The lone proof and ground for his hope and trust was built on the only one person who he strongly believed had power to save human beings from death and grant them the life that never ends. This is Christ, the Lord, the Savior, the Son of God, and God Himself.
The choice of Saint Peter was, for the abovementioned reason, also his sincere and trustful profession of faith. We know faith is by no means an act of human effort and achievement at all. Faith is absolutely a gift from God alone. Thanks to the divine gift of faith, we are able to go beyond the limitations of humanity to reach the truth of God. Saint Paul in his letter to the Hebrews teaches: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.”
The message of the Word of God which you and I have to take into serious consideration today, dear Sisters and Brothers, is that we should make the right choice of putting our faith in Christ, and in Him alone, Who has the words of true and lasting life. The rest in this world, very needed though, is not as essential and vital as our life in love, peace and joy with God, the Source of all good things.
Together with Saint Peter, let us say to Christ:
“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.