Ps 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21, 22-23
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 1 / (Green)
1st Reading: Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Joshua summoned all the tribes of Israel in Shechem, and assembled the elders, leaders, judges and secretaries. And together they presented themselves before God.
Addressing the people, Joshua said to them: Yahweh, the God of Israel, commands me to say to you. But if you do not want to serve Yahweh, make known this very day whom you shall serve—whether they be the gods your ancestors served in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites who formerly occupied the land in which you now live. As for me, I and my household will serve Yahweh.”
The people answered: “May God not permit that we ever abandon Yahweh to serve other gods! For it was he who brought us and our ancestors out of Egypt, the house of slavery. It was he who did those great wonders that we have seen; he protected us on the way and through all the land where we passed.
So we shall also serve Yahweh: he is our God!
2nd Reading: Eph 5:21-32 (or Eph 5:2a, 25-32)
Let all kinds of submission to one another become obedience to Christ. So wives to their husbands: as to the Lord.
The husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, of whom he is also the Savior. And as the Church submits to Christ, so let a wife submit in everything to her husband.
As for you, husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. He washed her and made her holy by baptism in the Word. As he wanted a radiant Church without stain or wrinkle or any blemish, but holy and blameless, he himself had to prepare and present her to himself.
In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. And no one has ever hated his body; he feeds and takes care of it. That is just what Christ does for the Church, because we are members of his body.
Scripture says: Because of this a man shall leave his father and mother to be united with his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a very great mystery, and I refer to Christ and the Church.
Gospel: Jn 6:60-69
After hearing this, many of Jesus’ followers said, “This language is very hard! Who can accept it?”
Jesus was aware that his disciples were murmuring about this and so he said to them, “Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; not the flesh. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe.”
From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray him. So he added, “As I have told you, no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed him. Jesus asked the Twelve, “Will you also go away?” Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
READ: Jesus was aware that even some of His followers had a hard time accepting His teachings but He continued anyway with revelations that made some of them to take their leave and go. Now only the Twelve remain. Peter affirms the Twelve’s unwavering faith in the life-giving word of Jesus.
REFLECT: Even His disciples had a hard time accepting the words of Jesus. Jesus would not play nanny to those whose faith in Him was not strong enough to withstand the shock of knowing who Jesus really was. They would not be punished because they parted ways with their Teacher. Their ordinary lives would continue. But the path to greatness would disappear and the doorway to an opportunity of meaningful life would close. The Twelve who stuck it out with Jesus were radically changed. It would be enough for these Twelve to cast their lot to an unknown future with Jesus whom they loved and admired.
RESPOND: Do we really know Jesus that much, so much so that we are willing to follow Him till the end? Or perhaps we just follow by rote, or by blind obedience, or because this is what we have been doing from the time when we were born? If we check ourselves and understand who Jesus is to us then we can make an informed choice whether to follow Him or not until the end. And when trials and sorrows come because of that informed choice, then we will never waver but persevere to the finish.
PRAY: Lord God, introduce me again to Your beloved Son. For I cannot come to Him without You willing it. May I get to know Him better so that my following Him will have substance and weight. Amen.
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