Celebrate Sunday Mass - 8.22.21

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8/22/2021 (3 weeks ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

AUGUST 22, 2021 -- 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS ON THE 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler.  Our participation at Holy Mass is always enhanced when we take time to prayerfully reflect on the readings. This is one of the reasons we are encouraged to read the readings for Holy Mass before we come to assist.

Our first reading for this 22d Sunday of the year is taken from the book of Joshua. As is often the case, it is shortened for liturgical use. So, it is helpful to consider the entire reading in its context. The 24th chapter of the Book of Joshua tells us the story of what happened after the chosen people of God had crossed the Jordan and were, finally, about to enter the promised land. 

Joshua, who succeeded Moses, gathers all the tribes together for a covenant renewal service. He asks them to decide who they will serve. the false "gods" of the Amorites or the True God of Israel. He cries out these wonderful words which are so often quoted "...As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord".  And, the people pledged to do the same. 

We are invited every morning, and in a special way, at every Holy Mass, to answer the same question. We are to choose whom we will serve. Are we serving false "gods". Is the Lord number one in our lives? Is Jesus Christ, His only Son, and our Savior, really the Lord of our whole life? Or, do we have our own "idols" of sorts?

The Psalm canticle which we then recited or sang at Holy Mass invited us to "bless the Lord at all times" and to "have his praise forever in our mouth." Have we praised the Lord today? Have we thanked him, out loud, for His wonderful works in our lives? Praise not only honors the Lord, but it lifts us up and orients us toward serving Him. 

In our second reading we heard an excerpt from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Ephesians. This section is a part of what are often called the "household codes". It is written to people just like us. In fact, it is written to us. These letters in the back of the New Testament are ever new and intended to guide our lives as Christians.

The Apostle makes clear that the Christian life is a Way of Life. That to be a Christian is to enter a whole new way of being human. It affects every relationship in our lives, beginning with our marriages and our families. There is an order of love which Christians are to live in their families. 

Christian Marriage is a Sacrament. It reveals Christs love for His Bride, the Church. The attack on marriage in our day is an attack on God Himself. Marriage is His plan and, He has not changed His mind. 

For those who are married, we should regularly ask ourselves "are we living our married life in accordance with the words we just heard from the letter to the Ephesians? " We can. We should. Christian Marriage is a call to holiness and a means of grace, not only for those living the vocation, but for all who encounter them.  

The Gospel text we heard proclaimed today is a continuation of the Bread of Life discourse. After announcing the Eucharist in the synagogue at Capernaum and telling His disciples that He is the Bread of Life. And, that his disciples are to eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood if they want to have to have life within them, many begin to leave Him, "returning to their former way of life".

Jesus is left with only His most loyal followers. He asks whether they will leave as well. Peter steps forward with this response "...'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life,and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.' 

Do we believe this? Do we believe that the Lord gives us His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist? He does. May this Lords Day be a time of renewal of our own covenant of faith with the Lord. 

God bless you,
Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School

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