21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
Trap Question: Who are we going to Serve:
I am going to set some traps for you today! Let’s see if you get caught in them
We hear the nation of Israel had journeyed form slavery in Egypt and were now conquerors. They had lost their land because of sinfulness. The question of that day was, now that we are free what God will we serve? The God of Moses that lead you out of slavery and bondage or Baal the pagan God of the Amorites. Who will you serve – the God of darkness or light? It is this same stark question Jesus is asking in the Gospel of John.
Cultural Use of Words: Ring any Bells?
How easily it is for us to get caught up in the cultural use of words and totally miss the central critical spiritual point of the message.
In the Gospel of John today, his community was immersed in tension and conflict. If we are not careful, we can easily get caught up in the trap of emotions which crowd out and overwhelm our spiritual eyes and ears. Have you noticed every issue is a crisis and we must act immediately? A new language art form has immerged to create a self fulfilling understanding by the hearer, while the message delivered can have a meaning we may not detect. We have politicians who claim to be roman Catholic’s speaking to us using the language of faith, freedom, choice and liberty while aggressively supporting abortion and proposing laws that can lead to euthanasia.
Image Corporation / Government Same Human Sin?
Are we awake America? Let me ask what God do we want to serve? Is there any tension and conflict in our nation today? Oh my!!! Fannie Mae, Freddie Mack, are social security and Medicare in trouble, do we have a banks, mortgage and housing crises, global warming cap and trade, single payer universal health care, bail out mania, increased taxes, tarp, deficit spending, illegal immigration, government motors, anger at CEO’s flying corporate planes while congress purchases 5 new private jets, abortion, death panels for euthanasia, cash for clunkers and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan have become side issues? The greed and corruption of corporate America is condemned while government corruption is somehow better?
Who are we going to Serve?
Jesus words today are going to startle us. It’s time to make a decision! Now let’s see if I can get real personal. How about today’s cultural upheaval of the roles and equality of men and women in the United States of America. How did Paul’s letter to the Ephesians go over today? How did we feel when we heard Paul’s words? Wives be subordinate to your husbands. The husband is the head of his wife. Wives should be subordinate in everything! Be totally submissive and give up your life.
How’s Paul doing? Did your emotions rise up and begin to walk yourself into a trap? Is it possible some of us are falling into emotional traps and becoming powerless to hear the spirit of the word spoken preventing the truth from being grasped?
Take a deep breath. Count to ten or maybe 100. Are we still caught up in our emotions? Let me suggest your freedom and more importantly our salvation are at stake – we need to be able to hear the truth – the word of God!
One Flesh Maybe?
Look at the balance of what Paul calls the wife and the husband to! Both, two not one, two that become one. It is important to begin to understand Paul is not speaking to us about each of us individually but jointly as people who are journeyers together. Paul is doing his best to teach us about a beautiful relationship, full and complete, mutual unqualified love where two become as one. Did Paul’s words of subordination conjure up those emotions? Two individual people freely choosing to die to their individual selves so they can become one, act as one because they serve the one true God. This is unconditional love. Paul’s point „ do not miss it!
Relationships that Unite:
It is the kind of relationship that Jesus is calling us to today! We as the Church and Jesus as Joshua leading us to His Father.
Did you fall into any traps? Let’s now examine Jesus Bread of Life words of truth in the Gospel. Just yesterday his disciples were witnesses to his miracles of healing and feeding the 5000 and already we find them murmuring – this saying is hard. They fell into the trap for though they saw with their own eyes they could not overcome the blindness of their spirit. Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood you do not have life within you! The words I have spoken are spirit and life! But there are some who do not believe.
Are we going to turn away?
Many of the disciples who followed Jesus returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus wants to know folks what is our decision? What is our decision today! Are we going to be like those who saw his miracles, ate the food he blessed, begin to murmur and then leave. Or are we going to recognize the spiritual truth and wisdom of Peter’s words. Master to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. You are the Holy One of God.
What is the relationship between people within this room?