CHOOSE TO FOLLOW CHRIST AND LIVE
📑Josh 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b; Ps 34:1-2, 15-16, 17-18, 19-20, 21-22 (R.v.8a); Eph 5:21-32; John 6:60-69
As part of his concluding discourses with the people of Israel, Moses did set before them two ways, one which contains the Law of God and leads to life and prosperity, and another which is the way of other gods and leads to death and calamity. He encouraged them to choose the way of God so that they may live and prosper (cf. Deut 30:15-20).
All the readings of our liturgy today echo the same injunction. In the First Reading, Joshua, also making his valedictory speech to the people of Israel to renew the covenant they made with God under Moses at Mount Sinai (cf. Exod 24), reminded them that there is no point sitting on the fence. At Sinai, the people promised to be faithful to everything the Lord commanded (cf. Exod 24:3). That means, they are not to turn back even when the details of that demand of God becomes challenging.
Unfortunately, some of us only stick with God when things are going well for us, in the same way some people zealously sought after Jesus after he had fed them with bread in the desert (cf. John 6:22-26). But we quickly turn around to seek other things once there is a challenge to our faith in the same way some of the people stopped following Jesus because his teachings are hard to bear (cf. John 6:60-66). That is because many of us do not bother to grow beyond the material into the spiritual level.
Remember what we said last Sunday of the food from heaven, the Eucharist. It is a spiritual food that strengthens the spiritual life. So, even when they ate the material food in the desert, its effect is supposed to be felt in their spiritual life and lead them to believe in Jesus. That is how we understand Jesus words that, He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him (John 6:56).
Therefore, anyone who eats the bread that Jesus gives would become like Jesus, loving as Jesus loved. Jesus love is committed love, which led him to lay down his life for his followers (cf. 1 John 3:16). The Second Reading invites us to also embrace such sacrificial love and reverence for one another.
Anyone who claims to be a follower of Christ but is not yet ready to embrace the life of Christ completely is not worthy of Christ because no one who places his hands on the plough and looks back is worthy of the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).
Are you ready for Christ? Are you among those who choose part of the Scriptures that suits them and embrace it while ignoring those that do not satisfy our goal drives? Are you so attached to what would favour your material life while ignoring the sacrifice which Christian faith demands of you?
May God grant us the grace to embrace Jesus, the Way (John 14:6) with a firm faith so that we shall be among those he shall recognize and accept in his kingdom in the end (Matt 7:21-23). Amen.
Have a blessed and faithful Sunday. Peace be with you.