"I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father." Jn 16:25
How can we accompany family members during a divorce? What do you say to a hard working friend who, because she cannot pay her mortgage, has lost her home? How do you tell an older friend that he can no longer drive? In fact, there is no good or easy way to tell someone that their life and lifestyle must change radically.
Although they did not realize it at the time they were called to follow him, Jesus' disciples were faced with the daunting prospect of continuing to live the gospel that had captured their spirits without the props they had come to rely upon. For years, the disciples had accompanied Jesus on the road to Jerusalem, no doubt expecting that someday he would march triumphantly into the holy city. That this would not be the case was something that Jesus spoke of in metaphors which his disciples often misunderstood.
Although Jesus had been rejected by the people of his home town, (Jn 4:44) most continued to follow him unreservedly. No longer using figures of speech, especially when he spoke of his own flesh as food for their journey after he died, (Jn 6:48-59) Jesus was trying to prepare his disciples for life without him, and it was too much for many. Making sense of suffering often does that to us. When life does not unfold in clear and understandable patterns of our own design, we often seek another path. Will you? Will we?
Has anyone ever tried to speak with you about your life and lifestyle? How did you react?