21st Sunday of Ordinary Time (B): ACCEPT OR REJECT JESUS
“Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life (Jn 6: 68).”
The readings of today’s Sunday Mass present to us a central theme: the two options from which each person has to choose and coherently live according to his choice for the rest of his life, i.e., each person can either ACCEPT or REJECT GOD and thus LIVE FOR GOD or LIVE FOR HIMSELF.
- In the 1st reading (Jos 24:1–2a, 15–17, 18b), Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel and addressed himself to all the people: “‘If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.’ But the people answered, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the Lord for the service of other gods ’”.
- In the 2nd reading (Eph 5:21–32), St. Paul exhorts his brothers and sisters, particularly the married couples to opt for the right choice which is “to live in love as Christ loved His Church” (v. 2a), imitating His Love for the His Church and to “Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ (v.21)” because the if not, Christian marriage, which is a symbol of Christ’s love and union with His Mystical Body, the Church, would not be in accordance with God’s designs.
- In the Gospel of today’s Mass presents to us the conclusion of Jesus’ Eucharistic Discourse (Jn 6: 60-69). Jesus’ revelation on the Bread of Life was too hard to accept to some of his listeners and
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 (Jn 6: 66-69).”
- MAN HAS TO CHOOSE WHETHER TO ACCEPT OR REJECT CHRIST
- God created us as rational beings, endowed with intelligence, will and affectivity, that is with freedom, so we can make choices, but above all, so that we will be capable of loving God and others. God wanted the existence of rational creatures capable of entering into a loving communion with Him and share His Life, which is eternal happiness. But entering into an intimate communion with the Blessed Trinity cannot be possible without love, which in turn, is not possible without freedom, for authentic love, above all, is an act of the will.
- Man has to choose at one point or another regarding his destiny: either man acknowledges and accepts God’s love through His Son Jesus Christ and hence live for Him and follow Him or on the contrary, reject God and live for himself.
- This fundamental option has to be materialized, carried out andtranslated in every choice and action man makes during his entire life.
- TO FOLLOW CHRIST: THIS IS THE CHRISTIAN’S VOCATION.
- It is the only path which leads to complete happiness and which satisfies every man’s thirst and aspiration for a never-ending joy and bliss.
- “Come, follow me” (Mt 19:21), Christ said to the rich young man, Christ being the “Way” which leads to holiness and complete happiness. “It is Jesus himself who takes the initiative and calls people to follow him (St. John Paul II, Veritatis splendor 19).”
- THIS IS THE CHRISTIAN’S VOCATION, OUR VOCATION: TO FOLLOW CHRIST. “This is not a matter only of disposing oneself to hear a teaching and obediently accepting a commandment. More radically, it involves holding fast to the very person of Jesus, partaking of his life and his destiny, sharing in his free and loving obedience to the will of the Father. By responding in faith and following the one who is Incarnate Wisdom, the disciple of Jesus truly becomes a disciple of God (cf. Jn 6:45). Jesus is indeed the light of the world, the light of life (cf. Jn 8:12). He is the shepherd who leads his sheep and feeds them (cf. Jn 10:11-16); he is the way, and the truth, and the life (cf. Jn 14:6). It is Jesus who leads to the Father, so much so that to see him, the Son, is to see the Father (cf. Jn 14:6-10). And thus to imitate the Son, “the image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15), means to imitate the Father (Ibidem).”
- MARRIED PEOPLE ARE CALLED TO FOLLOW CHRIST. MARRIAGE IS A PATH TO HOLINESS.
- The fact today’s liturgy includes St. Paul’s exhortation to married people to make manifest with their love, the love Christ has for His Spouse, the Church in the 2nd reading, is a reminder that marriage is a vocation and a path towards holiness.
- Married people are called to follow Christ and let Christ reign in their married love and family life. As St. Josemaria said: “Husband and wife are called to sanctify their married life and to sanctify themselves in it. It would be a serious mistake if they were to exclude family life from their spiritual development. The marriage union, the care and education of children, the effort to provide for the needs of the family as well as for its security and development, the relationships with other persons who make up the community, all these are among the ordinary human situations that christian couples are called upon to sanctify (Christ is Passing By, n. 23).”
Dear friends, with this Sunday’s liturgy, OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST INVITES US TO BELIEVE IN HIM AND FOLLOW HIM. We can ask ourselves: ARE WE REALLY SERIOUS IN OUR CHRISTIAN VOCATION OF FOLLOWING CHRIST, “PARTAKING OF HIS LIFE AND OF HIS DESTINY”, DAILY, IN EVERY CHOICE,
EVEN WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH?
It is a good opportunity as well TO ASK PARDON FROM OUR LORD of the many times we have not been generous along the way; TO RECTIFY OUR WAYS if we instead have chosen to live for ourselves, instead for God; TO BEGIN ANEW IN OUR DAILY STRUGGLE with the help of God’s grace; and TO REAFFIRM OUR DECISION TO FOLLOW HIM CLOSELY, TO LIVE FOR HIM AND SERVE HIM WITH OUR LIFE, repeating the same words of St. Peter: “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 (Jn 6: 68-69).”
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei. CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS. We are also in Facebook: www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness Hope you like our page and invite your friends as well to do so in order to help more people.
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