Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning their elders, their leaders, their judges, and their officers. When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed 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. For it was the Lord, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery. He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey and among the peoples through whom we passed. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
Brothers and sisters: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 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. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
Gospel Cycle Cycle A
Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 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. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” 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.”
Even the immediate followers of Jesus find his words difficult to accept. They cannot believe that He means what he says. They cannot believe that He wants such a close relationship with them and that they must deeply accept every word of His as the important word in their own life. They would not mind accepting Him as any other rabbi, any other good teacher.
We are so much the same today. We like to accept Jesus as any other religious teacher, but not as THE teacher. We want to accept some of the words of Jesus but other words of His we want to have the freedom to reject.
The first reading, from the Book of Joshua, is about the same kind of choice: do you accept God and follow God or not? When we come to know Jesus and to accept Him as our Lord and as our God, we learn to accept every word of His as a word of life for us. We no longer fight His words and we no longer treat Him just as any other teacher. Rather, Jesus becomes our Lord and master and every word of His is a word of life for us. Every word of His becomes our way of life.
Today, as in the past four Sundays, we are being asked about our relationship with Jesus Christ. Will we accept Him as Master? Will we acknowledge Him as God? If we do, then we must accept each and every one of His words as the Word of God for us and a guide for our life.
Even more difficult for us Catholics is that we accept that our Church teaches with the authority of Jesus also and so we come to accept the words of our Church as important in our lives. We have to know how to understand the words of the Church, but theuy are very important for us. And they have that importance only because we accept Jesus as our Lord, our Master and truly God with us.
Let us thank God today for our gift of faith and ask that this faith may grow ever deeper and more profound. May our lives truly reflect His love and compassion!