Saturday, August 25, 2012
21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B
21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – B
OUR LADY OF CZESTOCHOWA
Jos 24;1-2a, 15- 17, 18b / Eph 5:21-32 or 5:2a, 25-32 / Jn 6:60-69
JOSHUA 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: Your ancestors lived beyond the Euphrates River—Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor—serving other gods. 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, driving away before us all the nations especially the Amorites who lived in this land. So we shall also serve Yahweh: he is our God!"
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.
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."
In the early days of Christianity the two parts of the Mass were called: the "Missa catechumenorum" (Mass of the catechumen or learners), and the "Missa fidelium" (Mass of the faithful). At the end of the first part of the Mass, all who were not yet baptized had to leave. Only the faithful remained to celebrate the Eucharist. There were rumors that Christians ate flesh and drank blood during this secret part of their worship. Hence, the people hostile to the early Christians claimed that Christians were cannibals.
The central act of Christian worship, the Eucharist, brings God's gift of Jesus Christ to us in the appearance of bread and wine. The setting for today's Gospel is the words of Jesus, "Truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day." (John 6: 53- 54)
Maybe these words of Jesus are so familiar to us that we have taken them for granted. But for missionaries in the non-Christian countries, the talk of a God who comes to us humans through the body and blood of Christ is incomprehensible. Lots of patient explaining is needed. "This teaching is difficult," as the disciples of Jesus complained.
It is important then to keep in mind that in Holy Communion we are not eating the dead body of Christ. In Holy Communion we receive the living, risen and glorified Lord into ourselves thereby, instead of assimilating Christ into our body, we are assimilated into his Risen Life.
God uses ordinary things of life in coming to us personally, to renew and strengthen us, assuring us of forgiveness and salvation. Christ is with us in all of life. "Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them." (John 6:56)
Not all the followers of Jesus could accept his words. Some turned away and left. Only the twelve disciples are faithful. In this setting Simon Peter speaks for the group when he makes a confession of faith: "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
This difficult chapter of John's Gospel points to an essential truth about Christian faith and life sometimes misunderstood, especially by people outside of the community of believers. Being a Christian is not primarily subscribing to a set of commandments, rules and regulations, nor is it agreeing with certain teachings. Being a Christian is a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, which leads to discipleship. When Jesus asked the twelve if they also wanted to leave him, Peter responded with conviction – they will follow him.
Jesus made it plain that a radical, personal commitment is the proper response to the graciousness of God, who comes to love us and save us. Faith is the word, which best describes our response to the God, who enters the world fully and completely in Jesus in order to love us and forgive us.
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
… for the speedy recovery and healing of
- Fr. Ismael Zuloaga, SJ
- Eriberta Calvario
- RJ Sombrero and Mesh Villanueva
… for the personal intentions of Pauline
… In Memoriam: Shirley Weber
… for the eternal repose of the souls of
- Jesse Manalastas Robredo
- Buenseselita B Mitra
- Rolando Custodio
Eternal rest grant unto them and may perpetual light shine upon them. May they and all the dearly departed rest in peace.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Birthday: Edwin C. Inocentes
- Birthday: Pierre Angeli Dee Addison
- In Memoriam (+): Isidro T. Bangayan (May 10, 1928 - Aug 26, 2009)+
- In Memoriam (+): Edgardo Diama +
… for families who are in need of healing
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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