21B18. Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b. “Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, addressing them, “If it does not please you to serve the Lord decide today whom you will serve.” “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Now that the Lord had delivered the Israelites from slavery and settled them down in the Promised Land, it was time for them to decide whom they would serve. Here they clearly decide to submit themselves to the Lord as their master.
John 6:60-69. In demanding of his followers to eat his flesh and drink his blood, without at this point telling them that this is to be done under the appearances of bread and wine, Jesus is commanding them to put their blind trust in him that all would go well. However many refused, saying among themselves, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” “As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” Up to this point they had put their faith in Jesus because they saw the miracles he had performed. Now however, he wanted them to put their faith in him without seeing outward visible signs but simply believing in him personally. It was to be no longer the miracles that commanded their belief but the person, Jesus. Jesus says, “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” He is saying in his own way to believe in him because he God made man in their midst. Peter, apart from those who refuse to submit themselves to the authority of Jesus, says to Jesus, “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.”
Ephesians 5:21-32. Much of the Scriptures reflect the ancient hierarchical culture in which they were written. In this Sunday’s epistle Paul, in telling wives to be subordinate to their husbands, reflects the thinking of the culture of his times. In that same spirit of the times, Paul writes in Ephesians 6:5a, “Slaves, be obedient to your human masters with fear and trembling.” Also Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 11:5, “But any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled brings shame upon her head, for it is one and the same thing as if she had had her head shaved.” In inspiring the Scriptures, what the Holy Spirit is calling upon us to do is not to replicate the culture of those times but to follow what will lead us to the holiness that God the Father has called us to as his sons and daughters. I believe that the Spirit is calling upon us to be subordinate to God. In our egalitarian society we share with one another the gifts that God has endowed us with and the talents that we have been able to cultivate so to make the family, the community or the Church whole and complete to accomplish its purposes in this world. In 1 Corinthians 12:7 Paul wrote, “To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit.” What Paul wrote in regard to spiritual gifts is true on all levels of life. We all have been given something by God to make the world he has created a better place for all and give glory to God. In Matthew 25:40 the king, representing God sitting judgment, says, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” In this Sunday’s epistle Paul writes, “For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. When the body and blood of Christ nourishes us, his own body, the Church becomes holy, giving glory to our God who cherishes us his body with Christ as our head. In receiving the Eucharist, we call upon God to be the source of our daily life so that we may become the saints he has called us to be.