Saturday 21 August 2021

Sunday, August 22, 2021 - Will you take the road less travelled?

To read the texts click on the texts: Jos 24:1-2,15-18; Eph 5:21-32; Jn 6:60-69

"The Road not Taken", by Robert Frost ends with these words:

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Today, like last Sunday, the theme of the first and third readings centres on that of making a choice. The choice here is whether to take the road not taken or the road less travelled, confident that it will indeed make a difference.

In the first reading, Joshua invites the people to choose which God they will serve. Will they choose to serve numerous gods, or will they choose to serve the one true God? Joshua clearly opts for one true God. He decides to take the road less travelled. The people, remembering the great acts that God had done for their forefathers, prudently decide that they too, like Joshua, will follow the one true God. To be sure, their decision was prompted by their experience that, in the past, God had come to their rescue and revealed himself as a gracious and redeeming God. He had revealed himself as a caring and compassionate God. Yet, it was a decision and a choice that they made for the one true God.

This, however, cannot be said of the people to whom Jesus addresses a similar question in the Gospel text of today. These people find the following of the true God too difficult and so, opt out. These people were not able to make any sense of what Jesus was offering them. They could not understand how he could give them his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. Since they could not understand with their minds, they decided not to follow Jesus any longer. They preferred to stay in their ignorance. However, Peter, who serves as the spokesperson for the twelve, makes the choice for Jesus and so, for the true God. He, too, like the people, does not understand completely what Jesus is offering, He, too, like the people, is not able to make total sense of how Jesus could offer himself as food and drink. However, he knows that, in following Jesus, he is following life. He knows that taking this road and making the choice for Jesus will make all the difference.

The problem of choice that the people and the disciples faced is a problem that we face even today. We are, at every moment, called to make a choice. Just because we are baptized does not necessarily mean that we have opted for Jesus. Just because we go to church regularly does not mean that we have made a choice for the one true God. The choice that we make for the one true God is a choice that has to be shown in action.

This action is what the Christians of Ephesus are called to in the second reading of today. It is action that has to be lived out first in family relationships. Wives and husbands and all other members of a family, and members of the larger family of the Church, have to live lives of submission and love for one another. Jesus Christ continues to be the model for such lives and relationships. Just as Jesus did not consider his own comforts as more important than those of others, so must members of the family put the interests of others over and above their own. Since all who believe in Jesus are members of his body, they must live their lives centered on Christ.

The living of a Christ-centered life is a constant challenge and calling. We can never assume that we have made the choice for Christ once for all. This is because it is a decision that has to be renewed every day. Even as we are faced with this challenge, Jesus does not offer proofs or miracles to make our choice easier. He does not promise a life of ease or comfort. He does not suggest that following him will mean that all our problems will be solved or all our questions will be answered.

On the contrary, he makes it clear that following him will mean hardships and difficulties and sometimes, we may have more questions than answers. He makes it clear that following him will mean that the road ahead may not always be even or the going smooth. He, however, constantly invites us, beckons us, and challenges us to follow. He constantly asks: Will you also go away?” Peter’s answer was; “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life”.

What will my answer be?

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