Free To Choose Christ – Catholic Daily Reading + Reflection, Sunday, 22 August 2021
Mass Reading, Reflection – Homily for Sunday August 22, 2021
TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
Today’s Rosary: Glorious Mystery
Theme of the Sunday: Free to Choose Christ. In our lives there are two paths, the path of love and the path of selfishness. The second reading states clearly the meaning of “love.” A married couple give their love to each other by looking after each other. We must all choose the relationship we want with others. The first reading informs us about the choice made by the people of Israel at the great assembly of Shechem: they decided to choose God and to reject all idols. A life of love is neither easy nor comfortable. It demands self-denial, self-giving and control of our passions. So many prefer the other way. This is the central idea of today’s gospel. Christ says that we must identify ourselves with him, be with him, walk with him along the way of self-sacrifice. Many leave him, and “accompany him no more” but there are some who remain firm. God grant that we are among those.
“We will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
A reading from the Book of Joshua (Joshua 24: 1-2a. 15- 17.18b)
In those days: Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “If you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Ps 34: 1-2.15-16.17-18.19-20.21-22 (R. 8a)
R/. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
I will bless the Lord at all times,
praise of him is always in my mouth.
In the Lord my soul shall make its boast;
the humble shall hear and be glad. R.
The Lord turns his eyes to the just,
and his ears are open to their cry.
The Lord tums his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth. R.
R/. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
When the just cry out, the Lord hears,
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save. R.
Many are the trials of the just man,
but from them all the Lord will rescue him.
He will keep guard over all his bones;
not one of his bones shall be broken. R.
Evil brings death to the wicked;
those who hate the just man are doomed.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants.
All who trust in him shall not be condemned. R.
“This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:21-32)
Brethren: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA John 6:63c.68c
Alleluia. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of eternal life. Alleluia.
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 6:60-69)
At that time: Many of the disciples of Jesus said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offence at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him. Jesus said to the Twelve, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL
Christ has the words of eternal life.
PRIEST: My brothers and sisters, our personal love for Jesus Christ opens the way for us to eternal life. We make our prayers to God our Father that the world may listen to his Son’s voice.
FOR ALL PREACHERS IN THE CHURCH, (pause) may their constant teaching be of Christ’s love for us and ours for him, since he is the one who makes it possible for us to share in God’s own life. (pause)
Lord, hear us; increase our faith we pray Oh Lord.
FOR THE LEADERS OF OUR COUNTRY, (pause) may they value the Christian heritage they have received, and in all their laws and deliberations, protect the freedom of the individual to practice the Church faith. (pause) Lord, hear us; increase our faith we pray Oh Lord.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST FAITH, (pause) may the Holy Spirit help them to look again at the life of Christ, and know that he alone has the words of eternal life. (pause) Lord, hear us; increase our faith we pray Oh Lord.
FOR TRULY LOVING CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE, (pause) may all Christian husbands and wives reflect in their married lives the love which Christ has for his Church. (pause) Lord, hear us; increase our faith we pray Oh Lord.
We pray in silence for our own intentions to God our Father, who loves us.
Father, we acknowledge you as our God, and in our prayers, we turn to you for help. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
A decisive moment is one in which someone makes an important and influential decision. Joshua, observing that the Israelites were falling prey to the pagan culture and rituals of the Canaanites, called them to take decisive action saying: “Choose today whom you will serve.” Likewise, Jesus observed that some of his followers found his teaching difficult and were beginning to withdraw. He then turned to the twelve and, giving them the freedom to make a decision, asked: “will you also go away?” Peter answered: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” According to Cardinal de Retz, “there is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment, and the masterpiece of good ruling is to know and seize this moment.” Choose today whom you will serve!
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6
– Thank you Lord for another bright new day. I worship you, I praise you and I glorify you.
– O Lord, help me to exclaim with my life, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is and who is come.
– O Lord, revive my cravings to be holy all the days of my life.
Let Us Pray
In the name of Jesus, I come before thy throne of grace, seeking your divine guidance and direction concerning my life this day. Give me the courage to trust you and to follow the path of faith and righteousness as you take the lead as my shepherd. Lord Jesus my shepherd, as I walk in this journey of life, be my Rock and Fortress, show me favour and guide me in my entire affairs, even in the midst of storm let your hand hold me firm to yourself preserve me in my going out and my coming in, O Angels and Saints of God grant me your fraternal assistance that I may persevere in following the footsteps of Jesus our Lord and Shepherd both now and forever – Amen