Let Us Remain With Christ The Holy One Of God
Readings: 1st: Jos 24, 1-2.15-18; Ps 33; 2nd: Eph 5, 21-32; Gos: Jn 6, 66-69
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
On this twenty first Sunday of ordinary time, the Church encourages us to always remain with Christ, the Holy One of God. At times, when we come to the cross road of life, we are confused about which way to go. These are moments when we must make the right decisions, and the decisions and choice we make at such moments shape our future.
At a certain moment in my own life, I came to one of such cross roads of choosing between responding to God’s call and abandoning it. Thank God, the Holy Spirit gave me the illumination I needed to make the right choice.
In our first reading, having almost come to the end of his mission, Joshua reminded Israel of how faithful and good the Lord has been to them. Finally, he challenged them: “If you will not serve the Lord, choose today whom you wish to serve…” Their response was quite rapid and positive: “We have no intention of deserting the Lord our God…”
Of course, as most of us do, they spoke well. Unfortunately, they did not keep their promise. As soon as Joshua was gone (Judges 1-12), they ran to other gods. The psalmist says: “Those who run to other gods multiply their sorrows” (Ps 16, 4). Indeed, they multiplied their sorrows through their own decision and choice.
In our second reading, Paul employs the analogy of marriage, to explain and to remind us of the type of relationship that should exists between Christ and us, His disciples. Paul describes this relationship as a mystery with many implications. It is a relationship based on mutual love for one another.
Such a relationship is devoid of deceit. Rather, it is based on trust and faith. It is a relationship that endures the test of the time. It is different from what we see today in our society today. Where, we are married in the morning, and are divorced by the evening. Just as one cannot abandon oneself so, one must not abandon Christ his Lord.
In today’s gospel, after the bread of life discourse, some followers of Christ were disappointed. What they heard was not what they expected to hear from Christ. This teaching is too difficult for us! You are complicating our lives! They could not take it anymore. For this reason, many of them abandoned Him.
So, turning to his own disciples, Christ asked: “What about you, do you want to go away too?” This question from Christ is like Joshua’s. It leaves one with an option to remain with or, to abandon Christ at difficult moments in life. It is like saying, if you too are not convinced and comfortable with this truth, you may also leave.
There are lots of lessons for us today. Many of us come to Christ thinking that everything must be easy. Some come with a very shallow faith. Yet, some of us come with fixed expectations and just to hear only what we wish to hear. So, if our expectations are not met, we quit, and bid Christ farewell. So, we must ask ourselves today. How many times have we abandoned God and his church especially, at difficult moments in life?
Finally, there are inevitable moments in life when the authenticity of our faith and fidelity to God must be tested by the fire of afflictions (1 Pt 1:7). Then, only true disciples will stand with Christ to say: “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the word of eternal life…You are the Holy One of God.” Or, like Joshua say: “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord.” So, our song must always be: “I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no going back.”
Peace be with you!