21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – August 22, 2021

21B21.    Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b.   “Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel.” “Joshua addressed them: ‘If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve.’”  Then Joshua and his household chose to serve the Lord.  The people could have chosen to serve the gods of the neighboring peoples in their midst.  However, the God of Israel had clearly shown by his deeds that he had embraced Israel as his people.  So the people of Israel responded, “We also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

John 6:60-69.  In John 6:53, “Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”  “As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.  Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’  Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.’” Through Peter, Jesus’ chosen twelve chose to follow Jesus as the people of Israel had chosen to follow God with Joshua.  The people who abandoned Jesus could not see beyond Jesus’ words that seemed to be a form of cannibalism because, unlike Peter, they had not come to entrust themselves to him as the only One who could bring God’s life to them.  As did some of the people before Joshua’s time, we have many enticements that can become like gods that can attract us to live our lives according to their callings rather than to live with the one, true God as our life-giving source.  To eat his flesh and drink his blood means that our daily life is the life he gives us because we have taken him to live within us.  Without Jesus as our life source, we are only another species of animal on this earth.

Ephesians 5:21-32.   In marriage the Scripture says, “The two shall become one flesh.”  While in marriage the two though physically always remain two, yet spiritually and psychologically because they are so deeply in love they ideally become one.  That mirrors the unity or oneness that Christ has with his people, the Church.  Jesus calls us to choose to be one with him as he chooses to be one with us.  Jesus said in John 14:20, “On that day you will realize that I am in the Father and you are in me and I in you.”