Theme: WE BELIEVE JESUS IS THE REVELATION OF GOD AND WE BELIEVE IN THE REAL PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST
- Joshua 24:1-2. 15-18;
- Psalm 33 (34):2-3. 16-23. R/ v. 9;
- Ephesians 5:21-32
- John 6:60-69
Today is the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Liturgical Year B. The gospel today is a continuation of the gospel of the past four Sundays. The gospel is on John chapter six on the bread of life.
Jesus Christ is the bread of life, that is, Jesus Christ is the revelation of God in his teachings, in his person and life, in his words and actions, and especially in his death and resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world! And this we celebrate in the Eucharist!
The gospel of the first three Sundays on John chapter six was on Jesus as the revelation of God. The gospel of last Sunday was on the Eucharist! And the gospel today which ends John chapter six is on faith and belief!
The gospel today tells us that many of the disciples of Jesus did not believe in Jesus. They did not believe that he was the revelation of God and they did not believe in the Eucharist. (NJBC; IBC; CCB) They stopped following Jesus!
But more importantly, the gospel today tells us that Peter who represented the Twelve believed in Jesus! They believed Jesus was the only one who could give eternal life! No one else could give eternal life!
In fact the words of Peter echoed the words of Jesus himself: “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe.” (Jn 6:68-69; SM) Earlier on in the gospel today Jesus said: “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.” (Jn 6:63; SM)
It is important to note that those who did not believe in Jesus in today’s gospel were not the Jews; but they were the Christians, the followers of Jesus, the disciples of Jesus, members of the Christian community, members of John’s community! (NJBC)
Today too many have left the Catholic Church because they do not believe in Jesus. They do not believe that Jesus is the revelation of God and they do not believe in the Eucharist!
But more importantly, you and I believe in Jesus as the revelation of God and you and I believe in the Eucharist! We believe in the “real presence” of Jesus in the Eucharist! We believe only Jesus can give us eternal life. No one else can give us eternal life! Thus the gospel acclamation: “Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life: you have the message of eternal life.” (cf. Jn 6:63. 68; SM) Thus again, the gospel today: “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe.” (Jn 6:68-69; SM)
The first reading follows the theme of the gospel. The first reading tells us that Joshua and his household chose to serve the Lord their God. And more importantly, the first reading tells us that Israel also chose to serve the Lord their God. And most importantly, because it was the Lord their God who brought them out of Egypt, who protected them on their journey to the Promised Land and who helped them conquer the Promised Land!The responsorial psalm follows the theme of the first reading. Thus the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 33 (34):9; SM) That is, experience (CCB) and see that the Lord is good! Israel’s faith is based on Israel’s experience of God!
The responsorial psalm is a thanksgiving for the deliverance of the just from trouble! (CSB; HCSB) The responsorial psalm has five stanzas. The first stanza (vv. 2-3; SM) is a thanksgiving. The second, third, fourth and fifth stanzas (vv. 17-23; SM) are the deliverance of the just from trouble. Thus again, the response: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” That is, experience and see that the Lord is good!
The second reading does not follow the theme of the Sunday, but again the second reading has something very important to tell us! The second reading tells us that husbands must love their wives and sacrifice themselves for their wives just as Jesus Christ loved his Church and sacrificed himself for his Church!
The second reading tells us that wives must love their husbands and serve their husbands just as the Church loved Jesus Christ and served Jesus Christ!
The second reading tells us of the meaning of Genesis 2:24: “a man must leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one body.” (Ep 5:31; SM) That is, husbands and wives become one body in love, service and sacrifice, just as Jesus Christ is one body with the Church in love, service and sacrifice!
In the male dominated world of the Ephesians, where women were subordinated to men, the letter to the Ephesians preached equality (justice) and mutuality (love) between husbands and wives!
Today in this Mass, we thank God for his Son Jesus Christ, the bread of life and the revelation of God. We thank God for the Eucharist. We thank God for the gift of faith. And we ask God to increase our faith, so that we will continue to grow in faith and grow in the eternal life! We also pray God that husbands and wives be one in love, service and sacrifice, as Jesus Christ is one with his Church in love, service and sacrifice! A happy and blessed Sunday to all of you! Amen!
Parish Priest of St Mary, Tawau, Sabah East Malaysia.