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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Sunday 21st (B) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Josh 24:1-2.15-17.18): Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem, summoning their elders, their leaders, their judges, and their officers. When they stood in ranks before God, Joshua addressed all the people: «If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord». But the people answered, «Far be it from us to forsake the Lord for the service of other gods.

For it was the Lord, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery. He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey and among the peoples through whom we passed. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God».
Responsorial Psalm: 33
R/. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth. Let my soul glory in the Lord; the lowly will hear me and be glad.

The Lord has eyes for the just, and ears for their cry. The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.

When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.

Many are the troubles of the just one, but out of them all, the Lord delivers him; he watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken.
2nd Reading (Eph 5:21-32): Brothers and sisters: Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.

Husbands, love your wives,even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So also husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.
Versicle before the Gospel (Cf. Jn 6:63.68): Alleluia. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Jn 6,60-69): After hearing his doctrine, many of Jesus' followers said, «This language is very hard! Who can accept it?». Jesus was aware that his disciples were murmuring about this and so he said to them, «Does this offend you? Then how will you react when you see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh cannot help. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. But among you there are some who do not believe». From the beginning, Jesus knew who would betray him. So He added, «As I have told you, no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father».

After this many disciples withdrew and no longer followed him. Jesus asked the Twelve, «Will you also go away?». Peter answered him, «Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We now believe and know that you are the Holy One of God».

«Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life»

Fr. Miquel VENQUE i To
(Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel takes us to Capernaum where, many who have seen his miracles are following Jesus, especially those that were present at the spectacular multiplication of the loaves and fishes. As it is often said, Jesus, in that town, chanced to socially die of success; they even wanted to appoint him as their king. It is a key moment in Jesus' catechesis. It is when He begins to clearly divulge the supernatural dimension of his message. And, as Jesus is such a good catechist, the perfect priest, the best bishop and Pope, He lets them go away; He is sad, but He is faithful to his message and He will not be blinded by popular success.

A great priest used to say that, throughout the history of the Church, many who looked like essential and vital columns of the Church had fallen down: «Many disciples withdrew and no longer followed him» (Jn 6:66). You and I may fall, “disregard”, go away, criticize, “follow our own whims and fancies”. Humbly and confidently let us tell Jesus that, today, tomorrow and always, we want to remain faithful to Him; let us ask him to help us realizing the evangelic futility of trying to debate God's teachings, or those of the Church, on the grounds that “I do not understand them”: «Lord, to whom shall we go?» (Jn 6:68). We should demand a better supernatural sense. The Words of Eternal Life can only be found in Jesus and within his Church: «You have the words of eternal life?» (Jn 6:68).

As Peter already knew, we also know that Jesus speaks to us with a supernatural language, a language we must correctly tune it up to be able to fully understand its message; otherwise, we can only hear incoherent and unpleasant sounds; we must be very careful with the right syntony. As it happened to Peter, in our life as Christians we also have moments where we must refurbish and reiterate that we are in Jesus and we want to remain in Him. Peter loved Jesus Christ, and this is why he stays; the others just wanted Him for the bread, for the “candies”, for political reasons, so they choose to go away. Love and trust are the secret of faithfulness. Let us ask Virgo fidelis to help us today and now to be faithful to the Church we have.