Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Jos 24:1-2,15-17,18; Eph 5:21-32; John 6:60-69

A prisoner was confined to a solitary confinement and was given a Bible as his only companion. So he studied it very carefully for several years. Long before the days of computers, he discovered the following facts about the Bible:

It contains 3,586,489 letters; it has 773,692 words; it has 31,173 verses; it has 1,189 chapters. The word “and” occurs 46,277 times. The middle verse in the entire Bible is verse 8 of Psalm 118. All the letters of the alphabet are found in Ezra 8:21. The longest verse is Esther 8:9. The shortest verse is John 11:35.

Those were some of the amazing facts which that prisoner researched out of the Bible. We are nowhere told that the message of the Bible touched the prisoner’s heart.

In our gospel today many of His disciples left Him and returned to their former lives and no longer accompanied Him.  The Jews were so impressed by Jesus’ words and actions. Wherever he went they were to seek Him and listen to His teachings. but he started talking about “eating His flesh and drink His blood” as food for eternal life, they started to leave Him because they could not accept this type of teaching. Is he a cannibal? Witchcraft! So it is very hard for them to accept such teachings.

Jesus has so many sayings which could make His disciples leave Him like: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” “Forgive your enemies not only seven times but seventy times seven times,” “those who want to be the first must serve the rest,” ‘if you want to inherit eternal life sell everything, give to the poor and follow,” and so on and so forth.

It is easy to accept the teachings of Christ as long as they don’t go against us or as long as we are hit not by it. But when we are hit, we say, “Now the Church is meddling with our lives!”

I remember what happened to Jaime cardinal Sin, DD of the Archdiocese of Manila. When he asked his parishioners to have a rally on August 14, 1994 in protest of UN- sponsored Conference on Population and Development which started on September 5, 1994 in Cairo, Egypt, he was criticized. He was misunderstood and criticized in media by some people who are “concerned” about population and etc. there were so many commented and gave negative reaction when Church entered into the scene. They would rather use the principle of “Separation of Church and State” to justify what they are doing. As a matter of fact, they even challenged the priest, bishops and religious by saying: “If they can give us food, shelter, clothing, education, then we will not use artificial birth control,” and many more. Some would say, ‘for economic and practical reasons. But what we do not know is that it is the role of the Church to protect the faithful if faith and morals are in danger. Sad to say, we don’t have this, what we call faith and moral conviction in our Christian lives. We chose this kind of life because it is the easy way out.

That is why Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered Him, “To whom shall we go you have the words of eternal life,” (vv. 67-68).

What St. Peter is referring to when he said is about the word of God in the Bible. That is why I will ask each of you here if you have a Bible in your home? If you have, did you read it or you just put it in your cabinet and the cockroaches eat it or read it? According to St. Jerome, “Ignorance of the Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”

The Mass is divided into the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In the Liturgy of the Word, the Word of God is being proclaimed to us and applied us through the homily given by a priest. In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are offering now the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Based on my own observation, many of us come late when we attend Mass. Usually when the Liturgy of the Eucharist has already started. They missed the word of God. So what happen, it is like we are watching movie, we wait for the next show and leave the movie house if we reach on the part where we started watching the movie.

In my own reflection, the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ are important for our salvation. We need them for our strength and long for eternal life but sometimes we take for granted the Word of God.

So my dear friends let us reflect more frequently the Word of God and let it penetrate into the deepest part of our hearts. Let us also receive the Body of Christ regularly as our strength  in our day to day living.

See Today’s Readings:  Cycle B

Back to: Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

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