Then from St. Paul, households (families) are given Christian instruction for making family life subservient to the Lord God and Jesus, the Son. These two readings reveal the more patriarchal culture wherein the fathers hold more sway to make the decisions for their households. Today we hold to more mutual decision making among the parents.
At the end of John’s Gospel reading, it’s very significant that “many of Jesus’ disciples… no longer accompanied him.” Jesus then asks ‘The Twelve’ if they want to leave him also. Simon Peter, to his eternal credit, and of course by God’s grace has come to Jesus and plans to stay!: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We… are convinced you are the Holy One of God.”
Why the brouhaha in John’s Gospel with many disciples leaving Jesus? Jesus had spoken in the last few minutes of himself as the Bread of Life and that his body (flesh) is true food and his blood real drink. As the Gospel notes it’s a “hard” saying, and many thought “who can accept it?” This passage from John is indicative not just of what Jesus said in ministry, but probably more so reflects the reality of the turning points for people becoming and staying Christians through the first 100 years of Christianity.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus doesn’t speak in Last Supper/Eucharistic words until the Last Supper!: taking the bread, “this is my body” and taking the wine cup “this is my blood.” The earliest Christians were at times abused and even executed because of unswaying beliefs such as their Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper, while the bread and wine remained tasting and looking as such, and was what we call a sacramental presence, was nonetheless a Real Presence of Christ. Thus, false talk could spread that they were cannibalizing (not true), and that was too much even for pagans back then.
So how can families serve the Lord and not inadvertently bow to false gods which usurp precious time? While certain practices of our faith, whether regularly accomplished or not accomplished, are not the only measure of Christian faith within a family, still, it’s up to parents to know and actively believe, having dynamic faith, hope and love of and in the Lord Jesus and in the basics of faith in Christ Jesus.
We love him and serve him in response to his serving us and in our need to be spiritually fed by Him, adjusting our priorities accordingly so He can be the guide at home, our steering wheel in society and celebrated within our Christian church communities. Living faith is a good place to start!