Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Book of Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b, Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21,
Ephesians 5:21-32, & John 6:60-69
In today's Gospel narrative, Jesus had finished His saying many things hard for even His disciples to hear. They listened as He told them about eating His flesh and being the "Bread of Life," and some decided to leave Him. We know He turns to His closest friends and ask whether they will leave as well. Peter, speaking for all of them, and—for all of us, replies, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." As we know, eventually, they will also leave to find more innoxious places to go temporarily.
If not understood, Saint Paul's letter to the Ephesians might cause wives and husbands to leave Jesus, too, or even each other. There are firm and disorienting words, like 'subordinate,' and the husband is the 'head of his wife,' which when taken out of context and reacted to, create doubt in Jesus and make turning away from Him a proper response. Or is it?
The disciples considered their decision to return home to their families rather than following Jesus. The steps they used in arriving at their decision to leave were attentive to the issue at hand. They thought out the problem, were decisive and stuck to their decision, and were finally faithful to the decision. We can assume that those who do not find life in Jesus are true to their decision. Why did some no longer walk with Jesus? Similarly, why do some family members arrive at different ways of responding to the existence of God and the person of Jesus? I am sorry to say, my dear friends, that I don't have an answer to those questions.
I've decided, after reviewing the "evidence," that Jesus continues to embrace us all, both those who walk His Way and those who walk another way. However, Jesus ALWAYS remains faithful to all of us. With Him, it is not yes or no—just YES. As humans, we become aware of new things and think them over to see if we need to make a new choice. Our faith response is not written in stone—but in hearts of flesh, so we react accordingly.
Friends, to follow Jesus is not to be afraid of asking or being asked tough questions. I believe that we can move more devotedly in the life of Christ by just re-reading our Baptismal promise and acknowledging that He claims us through water and fire on that day and each day that follows.
Question of the Day: How will you allow yourself to follow Jesus, who is the Way, the truth, and the life?
Prayer: "Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life."