Lord, we are not going anywhere
Readings: Jos 24, 1-2.15-17.18; Ps 34, 2-3.16-17.18-19.20-21. 22-23; Eph 5, 21.32; John 6, 60-69
The word of God on the 21st Sunday B presents to us two fundamental questions: which God do you choose to serve? Do you also want to go away? It means we can choose God and be free with lasting fulfilment or choose the path of selfishness and give ourselves to idols which enslave us and bring us lasting disappointment. May the Lord help us and strengthen our ability to choose rightly! The meaning of our life as Christians depends on the choices we make.
Decide today whom you will serve
After the death of Moses, Joshua led the people of Israel in another crossing, namely of the Jordan in ordert o take possession of the promised land. At last they are free from slavery. However, there is danger for re-enslavement if they are to give themselves to the gods of the land. He invited the people to make a choice. Would they serve Jahweh who brought them all this way or other gods? With his personal choice, Joshua motivates the people to choose God and to reject all idols. Joshua took a rock and called it a witness before the people and laid it at the base of the sanctuary he established in that place. That was another „milestone“ for the israelite community of faith. Let us remember that our baptism is such a milestone. In fact, it is God who chooses us first to be His beloved children. Conscious of this, we can also choose God who has always willed our good. Whenever we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, we proclaim our willingness to follow the Lord. We willinglydetach ourselves from the idols (power, prestige, wealth, pleasure, etc.) that often crave for attention in our daily life.
Reason for staying with the Lord
At the end of Jesus’ teaching about the bread that gives life, many find it hard to endure. Jesus invites us to identify ourselves with Him, be with Him, and walk with Him along the path of self-sacrifice which is symbolized in the bread that is consumed to give life. Many leave Him. At this, Jesus poses a crucial question: “Do you also want to go away?” Peter’s answer is very precise: “Lord, we are not going anywhere. Apart from you there is no life, only the meaninglessness of life and darkness.” The Lord gives us the freedom to choose. We can either desert Him and give ourselves to a life without meaning or choose to stay with Him in order to have eternal life. We ought to be aware that our faithfulness has to grow as we follow Him, because even the most enthusiastic response is capable of turning into denial. We all know that when the real moment of discipleship came, even His friends deserted Him. We stay with the Lord because we have discovered life in Him. It is not enough to pronounce Him as Lord, but discipleship means a journey of constant formation and conversion. Let us decide to follow Him, no turning back!
New creatures in Christ
What St. Paul says in the letter to the Ephesians seems to be contraversial. The text sounds dissonant to emancipated ears. Many of us may react like those who turned away from Jesus because of His unendurable teaching. How can we embrace an admonition that seems to support unequal relationship between women and men? Any speculation about what Paul might have said if he were teaching today may not help much. We ought to discern the point of view that Paul was taking, namely the reference to Christ and the Church. The love with which Christ loves the Church should motivate us as we try to forge life-supporting relationships. Of course many of our relationships are in need of healing. It is not about submission but self-giving out of love. This is what both husbands and wives do! Jesus is the mediator of the new convenant with God. Choosing to be partners of the this new covenant which He sealed in His Body and Blood, we continuously become new creation. Through the Eucharist, He nourishes us and makes us His own flesh and blood, as husband and wife become one flesh. If we don’t have Christ in us we are not alive at all. The recognition of the latent feeling of superiority of husbands over wives (men over women) invites us to let Christ sanctify us, cleanse us so that we may be holy and without blemish.