24 Aug 21st Sunday of the Year – B
21st Sunday of the Year – B
Dear friends in Christ,
Today’s gospel reading is the final extract from John’s chapter 6 about Jesus, the Bread of Life: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.”
John reported that many of Jesus’ disciples found these words hard to accept, and decided to return to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Then Jesus asked the Twelve, “Does this shock you? Do you also want to leave?” Peter answered, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
It is important to note that Peter’s confession of faith is found also in the passages in Matthew, Mark and Luke regarding Jesus’ prediction of his Passion. For the disciples, Jesus’ teachings of the Passion and the Eucharist are both hard sayings, but Peter on behalf of the other Apostles decided to follow. The reality is that the mystery of the Eucharist and that of Christ’s redemptive death are inseparable. St. Paul told the Corinthians, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
In today’s first reading, Joshua said to all the tribes of Israel: “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.” Every Eucharist challenges us to decide whose wisdom we will follow: that of this world or that of “Christ crucified.” The Eucharist is the excellent way by which we proclaim our choice to remain with Jesus and be his witnesses.
David E. Rosage wrote: “At the time of dismissal at Mass we are reminded that Jesus has become Eucharist for us. Now we should go forth as witnesses and become Eucharist to others. As we go forth to reflect the love of Jesus to others, as we permit him to love others through us, we shall return to the Eucharist in peace – that peace which the world cannot give.”