21st Sunday of ordinary Time August 26, 2012
What is the source of division and polarization that is dividing our nation in 2012? Before anyone answers let me give you a clue. It is hidden in the question being posed by the authors of each of the readings. Joshua asks! Paul asks! And Jesus Himself is asking and is waiting for our answer today!
What is our testimony? Do our actions validate our words? Do our actions clearly and unequivocally point to following the one Lord and Master we are called to serve!
In Joshua’s time the people were immersed in tension and conflict. Not unlike our world today. They were a people who lived captivity, slavery and bondage. They were a people thirsting and dreaming of returning to the promised land, a land of milk and honey. They were hoping for answers.
Are we ready to respond as Joshua did for his people? As for me and my family we will serve the Lord! What Lord has led His people out of bondage, slavery and captivity time and again from antiquity? We have the stories of scripture to remind us. But do we know the sorties of salvation history? Do we tell and teach our children the stories of salvation history? Or do we reserve that job to the priest and deacon on Sunday mornings?
Again, what is the source of division in our nation? The answer is hidden in Jesus use of the word flesh. The flesh represents what we know because we can see it. Scripture teaches us people tend to prefer what they can see, even slavery over freedom they can not see.
Jesus says eat my flesh and drink my blood! The people responded, this hard to accept. Scholars tell us the people understood Jesus words as to mean to gnaw on and chew on my flesh. As if His flesh was the last source of life sustaining food to save one from starvation.
Jesus was using this analogy to speak of satisfying a real hunger for what was hidden in His flesh, unity of spirit and life.
Let me share with you a blessing. When my grand daughter was 3 she led in the blessing of our food back in the year 2000. “God is good, God is great,” (wait-wait I almost forgot, everyone close yours eyes and hold hands).
Think for a moment we are holding the hand and touching the flesh of a neighbor. One who was created in the image and likeness of God which is hidden within their flesh. God is good, God is great let us thank Him for our food, by these hands we are feed, Amen.
Whose hands where we holding? What happened to us during that brief moment of blessing? We where united in one spirit and life? For a brief moment we became one body, the living body of who? We are reminded we are the fruit of the earth. Our hands extended in the life sustaining spirit of unity and love. The fruit of divine grace flows from the one spirit of our creator. One in spirit, one in body and the blood of that Christ signifies the goodness of creation.
The Church provides us these readings to cause us to remember the days of division and dissension that has existed within the people of God from antiquity and today is the day we are called to decide who we will serve.
Paul to the Ephesians adds more flesh to the equation, husbands and wives – no one wants to talk about this scripture today – one might get beat up about the head and shoulders. In 2012 this scripture can serve as a trigger for cultural upheaval in the roles of men and women and is used in the war on women and gay marriage. Yet hidden in Paul’s words is the building block spiritual foundation symbolized by marriage. The foundation of the family, the smallest church, the bride and the groom, Christ and the Church, for the church serves as the building block of our nation! Two become one flesh!
That precious grand child didn’t just magically appear – she is the result of the willingness of three couples (each one man and one woman) to enter into an intimate relationship open to the possibility of creating a new life! But we know that is just the beginning. Stepping up to the responsibility plate. Being committed to be responsible for that child for at least 18, 26 with projections it will be until the mid 30’s.
No one can come to me unless it is granted by my Father. Don’t be disappointed or discouraged. Many who encountered Jesus Himself returned to their homes and former way of life. How about you? Peter gave us the answer. Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life!