Readings and Reflection for Sunday August 22, Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time


“We will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
A reading from the Book of Joshua (Joshua 24: 1-2a. 15- 17.18b)

In those days: Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “If you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will  serve the Lord.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM  Ps 34: 1-2.15-16.17-18.19-20.21-22 (R. 8a)
R/. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

I will bless the Lord at all times,
praise of him is always in my mouth.
In the Lord my soul shall make its boast;
the humble shall hear and be glad. R.

The Lord turns his eyes to the just,
and his ears are open to their cry.
The Lord tums his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth. R.

R/. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

When the just cry out, the Lord hears,
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save. R.

Many are the trials of the just man,
but from them all the Lord will rescue him.
He will keep guard over all his bones;
not one of his bones shall be broken. R.

Evil brings death to the wicked;
those who hate the just man are doomed.
The Lord ransoms the souls of  his servants.
All who trust in him shall not be condemned. R.

“This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:21-32)

Brethren: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.

The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA John 6:63c.68c
Alleluia. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of eternal life. Alleluia.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 6:60-69)

At that time: Many of the disciples of Jesus said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offence at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him. Jesus said to the Twelve, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
A decisive moment is one in which someone makes an important and influential decision. Joshua, observing that the Israelites were falling prey to the pagan culture and rituals of the Canaanites, called them to take decisive action saying: “Choose today whom you will serve.” Likewise, Jesus observed that some of his followers found his teaching difficult and were beginning to withdraw. He then turned to the twelve and, giving them the freedom to make a decision, asked: “will you also go away?” Peter answered: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” According to Cardinal de Retz, “there is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment, and the masterpiece of good ruling is to know and seize this moment.” Choose today whom you will serve!


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