Homily – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

(The following is from Pastor Dick Dahl)

Pastor Kathy prepared us for today’s liturgy with the following message:

“This week’s liturgy calls us to reflect on who it is we say we believe in—something people have struggled through time to come to terms with. Joshua says simply—’I believe in Yahweh.’ Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians calls us to action in our belief—we must love others as we do ourselves. Jesus asks his followers this week, ‘Am I a stumbling block to you?’  The psalmist cries out his/her belief that ‘Our God hears the cry of the poor’ and Peter answers with the resolution that we all most often come to, ‘Who are we to turn to?’”

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What stood out for me in today’s readings was Jesus’ question to the twelve men he had called and spent so much time with: “Are you going to leave me, too?

Many of his disciples had remarked, “We cannot put up with this kind of talk! How can anyone take it seriously?” The Temple authorities had argued, “How can he give us his flesh to eat?”

They did not understand the meaning behind Jesus’ words. Did they really think he was saying they were to participate in cannibalism? How much confusion and distortion has resulted from people misunderstanding Jesus’ words and the Scriptures! How much alienation from God has come from the literal understanding of teachings that had deeper symbolic meanings!

But the bottom line is, “Are you going to leave me, too?”  But like Joshua in the first reading, Jesus was saying, “Make a decision. Are you with me or not?”Joshua asked a similar question of the tribes of Israel and their leaders, “Make the decision today whom you will worship.”