Call to worship

When some followers of Jesus find his words to heard to accept, they choose to leave him. But the Apostles respond with a dedicated faith — “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Today, we pray for the strength to follow Jesus even when the road is difficult.

  • To the point: In this Sunday’s Gospel it is not the crowd who murmurs but Jesus’ own disciples. Only intimacy with Jesus such as the Twelve experienced can bring anyone to stay with Jesus despite the challenge of what he says. When the disciples hear Jesus’ words, they voice what many feel: “This saying is hard.” And indeed it is! The choice that confronts those disciples confronts us: will we accept the hard saying? Will we stay with Jesus or not?
  • Connecting the Gospel (John 6:60-69) … to the first reading: Both the first reading and the Gospel call upon us to decide whom we will serve. The decision is based on our knowledge and experience of what God has done for us, and our relationship with Jesus.
  • Connecting the Gospel to experience: Sometimes we follow Jesus even without full under­standing or complete conviction. But, like Peter, we know that there is none other to whom we would rather go.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(John 6: 60-69)

“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”

Holy One of God, you built up galaxies from nothing at all,
and wheat fields from barren earth.
You come to us too as the grain of the land:
our bread our life.
You ask if we could ever leave you.
Well, where would we go?
Others have no Spirit or life.
Please set our hearts on fire with your love!
Help us to always choose to love you
in every joy and every sorrow,
in all your hungry people,
in a crying Earth, always love, always!

The First Reading

(Joshua 24: 1-2a, 15-17, 18b)

“Decide today whom you will serve.”

Joshua rallied the tribes. “Choose today,” he said.
“What Lord will you serve?”
O God of infinite wisdom and power,
why do you let us choose?
Our decisions can wreak such havoc!
God says to us, “I chose you.
When I created you.
I didn’t make you robots.
Now I want you to choose me.
Give me your love, freely poured out,
a deluge or morning dew.
Know I will love you choosing.”

The Second Reading

(Ephesians 5: 21-32)

“This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.”

Not the bride “in love” on her wedding day,
but the mother whose love
has been rankled by storms,
has struggled in painful births;
has learned compassion ––
whose children teach her forgiveness.
In dimness she strives for light.
And shows radiance with joy.
O Christ, make us like her.
Nourish us and cherish us,
your loving Church.

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection