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Sunday, August 26, 2018

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21st Sunday Ordinary Time

Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18
Ephesians 5:21-32
Psalm 34:2-3, 16-21
John 6:60-69

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his eucharistic challenge

"Jesus was fully aware that His disciples were murmuring in protest at what He had said. 'Does it shake your faith?' He asked them." —John 6:61

Jesus challenges us to believe His mysterious statement: "The bread I will give is My flesh, for the life of the world" (Jn 6:51). A typical reaction to this challenge is to ask the question: "How can He give us His flesh to eat?" (Jn 6:52) Jesus does not directly answer this question. Rather, He extends an even more puzzling challenge by repeatedly insisting that we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood (Jn 6:53-58). If we do this, He will raise us from the dead (Jn 6:53-54), live in us and we in Him (Jn 6:56), and give us life forever (Jn 6:58). If we do not eat His Body and drink His Blood, we "have no life in" us (Jn 6:53).

Then "many of His disciples remarked, 'This sort of talk is hard to endure! How can anyone take it seriously?' " (Jn 6:60) "From this time on, many of His disciples broke away and would not remain in His company any longer" (Jn 6:66). Nevertheless, Jesus continues to insist that we believe in and receive His Body and Blood.

Joshua challenged the people: "Decide today whom you will serve" (Jos 24:15). Jesus, the new Joshua (Jeshua), also challenges us to decide today about living to receive His Body and Blood. Will we receive Him in repentance, joy, and love? Will we receive Holy Communion as often as possible and center our lives on the Eucharist? Jesus is challenging us. Our actions will speak louder than our words. Will we accept Jesus' challenge?

Prayer:  Father, grant me the grace to come to the eucharistic Jesus (see Jn 6:65).

Promise:  "Defer to one another out of reverence for Christ." —Eph 5:21

Praise:  Praise Jesus, the Gate, the Door, the only Way! Praise You, Jesus, our "Leader in the work of salvation" (Heb 2:10).

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 15, 2017

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