FEASTING ON THE WORD
"If you meditate on the Scriptures it will appear to you in its brilliant splendor." ―St. Pio of Pietrelcina
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time ( B )
Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b | Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21 | Ephesians 5:21-32 or 5:2a, 25-32 | John 6:60-69
The readings for the Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time remind us to make a definite commitment to God, to be subordinate one another out of reverence for Christ and completely accept and believe Jesus' words of spirit and life.
A Buddhist, a Hindu and a Christian quarrels over whose god is the one true God. They eventually decided to have a competition by showing that their god can save them from a grave danger. So they all went to the edge of a cliff. The buddhist said "I will jump off this cliff as I call on the name of Buddha and I will not be harmed." So the Buddhist jumps off the cliff and calls to Buddha. "Buddha Buddha Buddha Buddha" he yells. When he was near the ground his fall started to slow down until eventually he levitated. The Hindu, unimpressed by the Buddhist said that Brahma can grant him the power of flight. So he jumped off. As he falls he calls upon the name of Brahma. "Hare Krishna Hare Rama." As he nears the ground his calls became desperate. "Hare Krishna! Hare Rama!" He hits the ground with a loud whack and is killed on impact. The Buddhist, while still levitating, nods to the Christian to tell him it's his turn. Surely the Lord will save me from any harm he says to himself. So he jumps off the cliff and calls upon the name of Jesus. "Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus save me save me" he said as he was falling. Midway to the ground he calls for the blessed mary and the saints for help. "Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Mama Mary please save me please save me." As he was getting dangerously close to the ground he said; "Oh Lord Jesus, Lord Je...BUDDHA BUDDHA BUDDHA BUDDHA BUDDHAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!"
Our First reading from the Book of Joshua is concerned with choice. People in antiquity believed that gods controlled geographical areas. Thus, to survive and thrive in a place, one must respect and serve the regional deities. In our First reading, Joshua, the commander who had succeeded Moses as leader, gathers God's people at Shechem and asks them to choose again whom they will follow. Are they still serving the Lord and living by the covenant teachings, or do they fit in with the people around them? The Israelites gave reasons for choosing to serve the Lord. “For it was the Lord, our God who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, … performed miracles, … and protected us.” What is your reason for choosing God in your life? Our decision will be based on our knowledge and experience of what God has done for us.
Reginald and Grace, married for 5 years, had a quarrel and ended up giving each other the silent treatment. Two days into their mute argument, Reginald realized he needed Grace’s help. In order to catch a flight to Cebu for a business meeting, he had to get up at 5 a.m. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence, he wrote on a piece of paper, “Grace, please wake me at 5 a.m.” The next morning Reginald woke up only to discover Grace was already out of bed, it was 11 a.m., and his flight had long since left. He was about to find his wife and demand an answer for her failings when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed. It reads, “It’s 5 a.m. Wake up!”
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul compares husband and wife with Christ and the Church. What is his point? It is a given that wives should be subordinate to their husbands. The husband is the head of his wife just as Christ is head of the Church. And his mission is to love her as Christ loved the Church. And how was that? Christ handed himself over and died for all the baptized. Following the example of Christ, a husband will set aside his concerns for those of his wife, even if it kills him! He must also love her as he loves his own body. He must nourish her and cherish her even as Christ does the Church because all the baptized are members of his Body. The mystery of their life together, of a man loving his wife like himself and a woman respecting Christ in him, displays to all who see them the great mystery of Christ's love for the Church.
Father and son explorers Richard and Raymond, were on a jungle safari when suddenly a ferocious lion jumped in front of them. “Do not be afraid” Richard whispered. “Remember what we read in that book on wild cats? If you stand perfectly still and look the lion in the eye, it will turn and run.” “Sure, Dad” replied Raymond. “You’ve read the book, and I’ve read the book. But has the lion read the book?”
In the preceding unit of this Gospel, Jesus insists that disciples must eat the flesh of the son of Man and drink his blood to have life within them. In fact, this passage was rendered using the very crude and graphic Greek word τρώγω (trogo) which means to gnaw, munch, or crunch —as when an animal is ripping apart its prey — to emphasize the reality of the “eating”. This saying is hard; who can accept it? This is no ordinary meal and no ordinary invitation. Many disciples were confused and dismayed by Jesus' words. Many of them returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Jesus. For them, their doubt proves too much. "The words I have spoken to you," says Jesus, "are Spirit and life". Fortunately, for some, Jesus' reassurance was enough. They do not question Jesus further or wrestle with their lack of understanding. His very words may still confuse them, but they believe the One who said it. The same choice available to the disciples is available to us. Will you keep trusting Jesus, even when you lack perfect understanding? What will you do with your doubt? Will you stay or will you go? <enrique.ofs>
Jeff Jacinto, PhD, DHum