First Reading
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B – 2009 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.”

Second Reading
Ephesians 5:21-32

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 B
John 6:60-69

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.”

Today we are invited to choose once more: whom do we wish to serve? Are we willing to accept the teachings of Jesus Christ? Do you want to leave Jesus?

These are strong questions and we must hear them strongly! Too often we can float along in our faith and never really decide to serve the Lord. Normally, only when a crisis comes do we have to make such strong decisions. The readings today however invite us to decide again, right now.

It would be interesting if you were asked to stand up right now, right here in the middle of this homily. If you were asked now to stand up and say out loud: I am for the Lord! I am for Jesus! Could you do that? Could I do that? The question is not there to embarrass us or to put anyone on the spot. The question is there to deepen your faith and to invited you to choose for the Lord.

When Jesus asks His own followers if they will leave him, many of them do. This should amaze us! People who have walked with Him choose to leave Him. People who have heard His teachings decide against Him. So we should never be surprised even in people we love, members of our own families, good friends, decide to leave Him.

Why do they choose against Him? In this Chapter 6 of Saint John, it is so clear that Jesus is telling His followers: I am God, I am giving myself to you, I change this bread and wine into my body and blood—and all of this is just too much for so many of those who have followed Him. Jesus is not just another religious teacher. Jesus claims to be God. To follow Jesus as He invites us to follow Him is to acknowledge that He is God and that He has given Himself to us in the Eucharist.

Again we can proclaim: O what a great mystery! O loving presence of a God who loves us! O sacrament of the eucharist in which bread and wine become truly body and blood of our Lord Jesus. Help us believe today! May we choose to walk with the Lord Jesus and proclaim His love.