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21st Sunday In Ordinary Time

August 21st, 2016

“Master, To Whom Shall We Go.”

 

 

Reading 1
Jos 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges, and their officers.
When they stood in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people:
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling.
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

But the people answered,
“Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods.
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery.
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey
and among the peoples through whom we passed.
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”


Responsorial Psalm
Ps 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21

R.  (9a)
  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
            his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
            the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R.
  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
            and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
            to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R.
  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
            and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
            and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R.
  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Many are the troubles of the just one,
            but out of them all the LORD delivers him;
he watches over all his bones;
            not one of them shall be broken.
R.
  Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.


Reading II
Eph 5:21-32 or 5:2a, 25-32

Brothers and sisters:
Live in love, as Christ loved us.
Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ loved the church
and handed himself over for her to sanctify her,
cleansing her by the bath of water with the word,
that he might present to himself the church in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one hates his own flesh
but rather nourishes and cherishes it,
even as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh.

This is a great mystery,
but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.


Gospel
Jn 6:60-69

Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe.”
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
“For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”



 

 

In light of today’s gospel reading I would like to reflect on two things; discipleship and Peter.

When did we consider ourselves called to be disciples of Jesus? Was it at our baptism? If it was an infant baptism, the call had to be a faith response of our parents, with the hope that in time and our upbringing in the faith, we would take up that call on our own. There has to be a time when we decide that Jesus is calling us to be a disciple, and that time is not the same for each person. It is pretty much like believers of other faiths who reach a moment in their lives to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Were we aware then that we were being called to discipleship? Were we old enough and informed enough and mature enough to even understand what that call meant? Have the people we have come to know, whoever they might be, made a difference or have had an impact on whether we answered the call to discipleship?
 

 Everything that has ever happened to us, good or bad, has shaped and molded us into the person that we are today; the influence of others, the lifestyle we have come to live; the many different issues that we encounter each day, whether it be government issues, the family structure of today, the decay of moral values and principles, the different relationships that we have entered into. This has all played a part of who we are at this moment.

And so it did as well in the time of Jesus, when he began his ministry; his being sent by the Father to proclaim the good news. His goal was to deliver that message to the Jews. He, himself was also a Jew. But the Jews weren’t quite ready to accept the kind of Messiah he was, the kind of message that he preached. They wanted a king that would crush the Romans and change the political structure in their favor. How disappointed they felt when a carpenter began to preach about love and forgiveness, and healed the sick and fed the poor. A carpenter who said, “Come, follow me. I am the bread of life. I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Kind of blew their minds a bit. So much so that many of them were upset and angry. Many of them didn’t want to hear about it. And so many of them left.
 

I don’t know at which point or time in my life that I recognized Jesus calling me to discipleship. I know that it didn’t happen all at once. It was a gradual unfolding of circumstances and happenings in my life, and it still continues to be. Oh I am very sure that I did know that Jesus was calling me to follow him to discipleship, but hey, each new day, awareness’s are presented to me, and also to each of us. Each day we have to say “yes” to the Lord calling us, and then go from there.

Now, this is where Saint Peter, the apostle, comes in. I give him the title of “saint” quite deliberately. For I suspect when I propose calling Peter a “master of discipleship,” you might have some serious reservations. Rather quickly there comes to mind Jesus’ stinging rebuke to this overzealous follower: “Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle in my path . . .” or that much more prophetic statement, “Before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.”
 

Even then, this blustery man’s oath “that he does not even know the Master” stings our hearts. Well might he cry, sob inconsolably - the traitor! Yet, it is precisely because Peter – Saint Peter, was such a disciple, one who would fail, and fail miserably, that he is a good master of discipleship for us. Because we too fail, and have also failed miserably at some time in our lives. When Jesus said in this gospel message, “Are you going to leave me too?” it was Peter who said, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe. We are convinced that you are God’s holy one.” And in the end, Peter died for his Master, and no greater love than this, no man has, than to lay down his life for his Friend and Master.

Even though we make mistakes in our lives and sin, and falter, we continue in faith, to respond to the call of Jesus to be his disciples each and every day. In the ordinary humdrum of our everyday lives we reach out in love to his calling us. Sometimes we will need help from others. Jesus doesn’t really give a hoot about our knowledge of scriptures or theology or church history, or doctrine. It is our belief, our faith, our trust in him, that he wants from us;  our commitment and our obedience. Our discipleship should be an expression of our love, our unconditional love, as he loved, and it must be lived out in our daily lives.  That is what being a disciple is, the lived out experience of our daily lives, an example to others.

In today’s world, in our country today, what can make any more sense than that? I am a broken person, you are a broken person, we are a broken country, a morally decayed country. Jesus wants us to turn to Him as our source of strength, as our hope for a better tomorrow. Certainly not a politician, not an empty promise. The only promise that holds any truth is in Jesus himself. The only person we can trust for any meaning and hope in this life is Jesus.

We want to always strive to love as he loved and loves, so that when he says, “Do you want to leave me too?” we can respond like Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe; we are convinced that you are God’s holy one.” We can be confident that in the end, that his love which is He, his mercy will win out. And we too will see and accept the truth of his words, even if it turns our world upside down, and know that the greatest joy of any true disciple, is to be with our Lord, our Master, no longer serving him from afar, but rejoicing in the most complete oneness of consummate love in heaven! Master, to whom should we go? We should know that answer by now, and for those who don’t, we have a responsibility to tell them!




© Deacon Steve A. Politte
Revised August 20th, 2016
 

 

 

 

~ He Loves Me ~

 

He is the water and I am the seed,
He watches me grow and supplies all my needs.
He is the air that I breathe every day,
The truth and the light that always guides my way.
He is the one, who wakes me from my sleep,
And every day He always shows me His promises He keeps.
He leaves His footsteps hoping I will follow Him,
Watching me as I slowly walk away from my sins.
He is the one, whose hand always holds mine,
Letting me know that with Him I’ll be fine.
He is my solid rock on sinking sand,
He watches as I learn that with Him I can stand.
He is the sun that shines on my life,
And the rest that I need when I close my eyes each night.
He blesses me with happiness and so many things,
And He loves watching me share all the joy that He brings.
He is my everything and He always will be,
My Father who truly will always love me.


Written By Eva Dimel
Inspired by God

(C) August 10th, 2011

 

 


 

 

A Staircase To Heaven by Stephen Meara-Blount

 

 





 

 

 

 


 

 

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