21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Published on 20 Aug 2018
Stained glass window of Jesus talking to his disciples

The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life

O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose,

grant your people to love what you command

and to desire what you promise,

that, amid the uncertainties of this world,

our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found.


This Sunday, we conclude five weeks of readings and teaching from St John’s Gospel on the meaning of the Eucharist.

Jesus is the Bread of Life. For some of the disciples, this teaching proves too much and they stop following him. The question that Jesus puts to the Twelve is also put to us today: ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’

A similar question was addressed to the tribes of Israel gathered at Shechem (First Reading). Joshua asks the elders and leaders of the tribes which god they want to follow. They recognise that it is the Lord, the God of Israel, who was with them throughout their slavery in Egypt, and throughout the hardship of their exile in the desert. The people of Israel reject the gods of their ancestors and of the other nations and become a single people committed to the one true God.

The Psalm we pray with today compares the experience of the one who turns to the Lord with humble trust with those who turn their back on the goodness that is offered to them.

The teaching from the Letter to the Ephesians (Second Reading) encourages us to see that Christian marriage is modelled on the love that Christ has for the Church. Christ feeds his Church out of love, because the Church is his body and we are its living parts.

As we come to prayer this week, may we have the grace to recognise that same love active in our lives, so that when we are asked by God, ‘What about you ?’ we can respond with a willing and loving heart.

… choose today whom you wish to serve.

As for me and my House, we will serve the Lord.   First Reading

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life; you have the message of eternal life.    Gospel Acclamation

Taste and see that the Lord is good.     Psalm

This week’s texts if you want to reflect further:

Joshua 24: 1–2, 15–18; Psalm 33 (34); Ephesians 5: 21–32;

John 6: 60–69