This Sunday’s Readings:
Joshua 24:1–2a, 15–17, 18b
Psalm 34:2–3, 16–17, 18–19, 20–21 (℟ 9a)
Ephesians 5:21–32 or 5:2a, 25–32
FIVE SUNDAYS AGO, THE CROWD WANTED TO MAKE JESUS KING. Now, most of those who have stayed through his long sermon about bread from heaven and eating and drinking his own flesh and blood are calling it quits. “This is too hard,” they grumble. “It was better when he just gave us food. Why does he have to say all this other nonsense?”
Note, Jesus was preaching to his disciples in the synagogue (John 6:59–60). It’s his disciples, not some random crowd, who’ve become tired of him. His shocking statements and his long, tedious mission are not what they signed up for.
Jesus here is the patron of all who have the courage to preach, write, and say the hard stuff even if it means losing your followers. Those who risk being unpopular by giving people what they need instead of what they want. Those who are in it for the long road of conversion paved with simple acts of bravery, boldness, and self-sacrifice.
Our eucharistic “Amen” is saying yes to the hard things of discipleship; yes to sticking with one another even when others leave. The Eucharist binds and emboldens us together in Christ, who feeds us with the words of eternal life. Pray for me as I pray for you that we may speak with conviction in the Holy One of God.
“I taste your word and it sustains me. Your will is honey for my soul.”
There’s a strange new series streaming on Netflix, based on a comic book, called “Sweet Tooth.” It’s about a young boy named Gus who is half human and half deer and the journey he takes to find out where he came from. His nickname, “Sweet Tooth,” comes from his love of all things sweet and sugary. Early on, you see how he sustains himself on maple syrup when left on his own, too soon. Sweet things like syrup or honey not only taste good and make us happy but can provide almost instant energy to face what’s ahead. Honey, in particular, has both nutritional and medicinal properties. God’s Word and God’s Law do the same. They sustain us. They bring us joy. They heal us. They give us the strength we need to live and to love and make our way in this world on the way back home to God. How sweet is that?
More choral suggestions for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time…
Alle, Alle John Angotti Three-part choir, descant, cantor, assembly, guitar, keyboard 008254
Christ, Our Bread of Life, from Behold the Lamb of God: Seven Eucharistic Ostinatos Alan J. Hommerding SATB, cantor, assembly, keyboard 005287
Commit Your Way to the Lord Liebhold, ed. Edward W. Klammer SATB G-2898
El Amor de Dios/God’s Love Is Everlasting: Salmo 136/135 Lourdes C. Montgomery Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, guitar, keyboard 012649
El Señor Es Compasivo: Salmo 103/102 (bilingual) Peter Kolar Unison choir, descants, cantor, assembly, flute, guitar, keyboard 012670
Gusten y Vean: Salmo 34/33 (bilingual) Pedro Rubalcava SATB, cantor, assembly, piano, guitar 012676
Lord, to Whom Shall We Go Michael Joncas SATB, cantor, assembly, organ, opt. various instruments G-3244
Make of Our Hands a Throne Steven C. Warner Two-part mixed choir, descant, assembly, opt. C instrument, 2 violins, cello, guitar, keyboard 007273
O Taste and See That the Lord Is Good J. Gerald Phillips SATB, assembly, organ 008613
Something Beautiful John Angotti, Jim Kenna, & Chris Lock Three-part choir, cantor, assembly, guitar, keyboard 008092
Taste, O Taste and See: Psalm 34 John D. Becker Two-part choir, cantor, assembly, guitar, keyboard 006239