Homily for the 21st sunday in ordinary time, year b
JOS. 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Beloved in Christ, this morning we bring to an end our reflection on the BREAD OF LIFE discourse in John 6. Therefore, I have chosen ” CHOOSE TO BELIEVE ” as our theme for today. This is aimed at helping us make a choice as regards our commitment to the Lord and his teaching.
Beloved, in life we atimes come to some decisive moments and these moments demand that we make decisions that affect us for the rest of our lives. And it is with this understanding that Joshua in the first reading, having led the people of Israel to the promise land invited them to make a choice as to who they would serve ; reminding them that the choice they made would have a consequence for them forever. This brings to mind what Moses did when he led them out of Egypt (cf Deut. 30:15-19).
For Joshua this call to the people of Israel was necessary knowing their history ; mixing up their belief in God with elements from the various pagan religion. In fact, it is a renewal of their resolution to be loyal to God.
Beloved, like Joshua, Jesus also in today’s gospel after explaining the teaching of the bread of life, demanded a response from them; as in either they accept him or not. For Jesus the discourse on the bread of life is a decisive moment in discipleship and therefore demands a response from his followers.
Beloved , when it comes to the Eucharist, there is no compromise . ‘For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink, says Jesus (John 6:55). And it was this statement that many of his followers acknowledged as a hard saying (john:6-60b) and left returning to their former lives (John 6:66) . This led Jesus to ask if the disciples would also want to leave because of this same teaching but on their behalf Peter said ‘NO’
My dear friend, if Jesus had not meant the Eucharist to be his flesh and blood, he would have called them back,saying wait -I was using a metaphor . “Let me explain”. Instead, he made the contrast even stronger (John 6 :65).
Beloved in Christ, sometimes the truth hurts us but it is the same truth that sets us free. And it is the same with the teaching on the Eucharist.
Hence our first and gospel readings of today invite us to question our commitment to Jesus when the demand of his teaching challenges us and atimes hurts us as well, knowing that He alone has the message of eternal life.