TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Also Read: Mass Readings for 22 August 2021
First Reading: Joshua 24: 1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Which God do we serve?
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”(15)
“And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore, we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”(18)
Joshua makes the bold proclamation in the midst of an unbelieving people. (v.15) He then proceeds to admonish and charge the people with making their choice! Realizing their folly, the people turn back to The Lord as their God. (v.18)
So, which God do we serve in our generation today? For example, we might be during a pandemic but love for social media has not diminished among the people. We see how obsessed some of them are, by their posts and uploads! No, nothing wrong with using social media! After all, we too are connecting through the same platform. That’s the clue! Every facility can be used for the greater glory of God! Not for our own glory!
Or what about other addictions like smoking, drinking, excessive TV watching, gossiping, fornication, lies, jealousy, pride, greed, and the rest? In the times we live in, we could well utilize the excess time we have, introspect, reach out to others, or change our old behaviors. We could also find means to encourage our brethren around us.
If we serve The Lord Our God, we will know the gravity of our life situation right now! We would turn back to our True God now because HE has allowed us this grace period!
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 34: 2-3, 16-23
Make Your Boast in the Lord!
“My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad.” (2)
“The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” (16)
“The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (18)
Thank You O Lord, Our God! Amen!
Second Reading: Ephesians 5: 21-32 or Ephesians 5: 2a, 25-32
Doing and Living in Reverence!
“Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.”(21)
“This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church.” (31)
“Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.” (32)
In this great doctrine set out for us by St. Paul, we learn about the intimate love of Christ for His church. The attitude of an exemplary couple is listed out here. But if we revert a little to the beginning of chapter 5, we will also find many more instructions about our new life in Christ! “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” (v15-16) It is mentioned in Eph. 5:1-20 how we are to avoid the evils of fornication, slander, deception, greed, and any impurity of heart.
With this backdrop, are we subjecting ourselves to each other out of Reverence for Christ? Christ loved us to the point of laying down his life for us! The exemplary matrimony described by St. Paul points to the equality of both partners. (21) So, if both the spouses have reverence for Christ, they would both subjugate themselves!
But in this day and age do we see this? It would be worthwhile to read the whole of chapters 4 and 5 to grasp the true essence of the given word today. Eph 4:22-23 says, “You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”
Lord, Renew the spirit of our minds. Amen!
Gospel: John 6: 60-69
Believe, Live and Do (Act Out)!
From the very beginning, Jesus knew Judas was going to betray him! Yet, he had chosen him as one among the twelve! Jesus lived with his betrayer day and night and taught him along with his other apostles! Judas too at that time had a fair chance to believe! But he didn’t!
“And Jesus said, “For this reason, I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by my Father.” (v.65) The Almighty Father in His Wisdom and Mercy, forbids certain individuals to come to him! Not surprising then, if today we still find the judases among us! What did Jesus do? He went about his mission, anyway, doing the Will of His Father! Judas too was a firsthand witness to Jesus’ miracles and His Teachings. Judas seems to be spiritually blinded! He was with God, and He knew Him not! Whether the judases are transformed or not, we must leave it to God’s plan and continue our own mission.
Or let us honestly reflect: have we hardened our own hearts? Christ laid down His life for us, are we worthy of being His Church? May we renew the Spirit of our minds and turn our steps to Jesus! If we believe, we will not only profess but also do (act out) our Faith! May we too profess just as Peter did: “Lord we have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” (v.69)