Homily Twenty-First Sunday Year B

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Homily Twenty-First Sunday Year B

Reading 1: Over the period of Israel’s journey from Egypt to the Promised Land the people had witnessed God’s signs and wonders. First, he freed them from their bondage of Egypt. Then he established a covenant with them, sealed with blood. At the time the people said, “We will serve the Lord.” They remained in the desert for forty years because their actions and words did not match. They grumbled and complained; they were disobedient and obstinate of heart against God. As a result, many died without entering into the Promised Land.

Now, God brings them into the land flowing with milk and honey. They were able to conquer their enemies and began to settle down. Once more Joshua reminded the people what God did for them. Joshua challenged them to either renew the covenant and serve only the Lord or go the way of their ancestors. “As for me and my household we will serve the Lord.”

The people made the same profession of commitment. They were faithful, but generations after them were not.

When we were baptized, God made a covenant with us. He chose us to be his adopted sons and daughters.  Each Sunday, we renew our covenant in the Eucharist. The question is do we just say words or do we live our commitment with the same intention of Joshua? “As for me and my household we will serve the Lord.”

Reading 2: In marriage, husband and wife enter into a sacred covenant with each other and with God. What Paul says about man and woman in the marriage covenant, he sees through the lens of our relationship with Christ.

The first reading focused on serving the Lord, being faithful to the Lord, following the Lord. The second reading is saying the same thing. Husband and wives in living out their covenant are to focus on serving the Lord. Their subordination to one another is because of their relationship to Christ.

Wives love your husbands as you love Christ. Husbands love your wives as you love Christ. How can you do this with all the faults each sees in the other? The same way Jesus loves us with our faults and failures. He did this by laying down his life for us, his people, the Church.

In the same way, each spouse is to live in relationship to the other. This is the subordination each is to show to the other. In so doing, you will be helping the other to grow in holiness.

One of the many questions, God will ask of spouses at the Day of Judgment is “Where is your spouse in relationship to me because of you”?

Gospel: The Gospel is a continuation of last Sunday’s reading. Jesus’ promised to give us his Body to eat and his Blood to drink, so that we may have life everlasting. At the beginning of last Sunday’s Gospel, it said that the Jews grumbled, questioned and challenged Jesus. Here it says, even some of his disciples found Jesus’ words too hard to accept.

Jesus’ teaching was a Word of Wisdom, which is beyond the rationale of the human mind, but is dependent on faith in the person of Jesus Christ. In a sense, Jesus, in a subtle way reveals his true identity. “What if you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” The Spirit gives the faith that is needed; human nature cannot.

Many of his disciples walked away because they could not make a commitment to accept Jesus and his word.  Jesus then turns to the twelve and asked: “Do you want to leave?” Peter had already confessed that Jesus was the Christ. Now he professes: “You have the words of everlasting life. We believe that you are the Holy One of God.”  Both statements were expressions of faith in the person of Jesus and in his words.

Our faith is in Jesus as Lord, Savior and God. There may be many things that may be hard to understand and believe. Like the disciples our faith may be tested and may waver a bit. If our faith is at best surface deep, it will take little to shake it. We need to ask for the grace from the Holy Spirit to remain followers of Jesus, never separating ourselves from him or his Church, no matter what. “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

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