Sunday Readings and Reflections

Sunday, August 22 
Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar

Book of Joshua 24,1-2a.15-17.18b.

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: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: In times past your fathers, down to Terah, father of Abraham and Nahor, dwelt beyond the River and served other gods. 
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 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 all the peoples through whom we passed. 
At our approach the LORD drove out (all the peoples, including) the Amorites who dwelt in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.” 

Psalms 34(33),2-3.16-17.18-19.20-21.

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 man, 
but out of them all the LORD delivers him. 
He watches over all his bones; 
not one of them shall be broken. 

Letter to the Ephesians 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. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6,60-69.

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” 
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? 
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 
It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 
But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. 
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” 
As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. 
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” 
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 
We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” 

Saint John-Paul II 
Pope from 1978 to 2005 
Encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”, 18-19 

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” (Jn 6:54)

Those who feed on Christ in the Eucharist need not wait until the hereafter to receive eternal life: they already possess it on earth, as the first-fruits of a future fullness which will embrace man in his totality. For in the Eucharist we also receive the pledge of our bodily resurrection at the end of the world: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54). This pledge of the future resurrection comes from the fact that the flesh of the Son of Man, given as food, is his body in its glorious state after the resurrection. With the Eucharist we digest, as it were, the “secret” of the resurrection. For this reason Saint Ignatius of Antioch rightly defined the Eucharistic Bread as “a medicine of immortality, an antidote to death”. 

The eschatological tension kindled by the Eucharist expresses and reinforces our communion with the Church in heaven. It is not by chance that the Eastern Anaphoras and the Latin Eucharistic Prayers honor Mary, the ever-Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God, the angels, the holy apostles, the glorious martyrs and all the saints. This is an aspect of the Eucharist which merits greater attention: in celebrating the sacrifice of the Lamb, we are united to the heavenly “liturgy” and become part of that great multitude which cries out: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev 7:10). The Eucharist is truly a glimpse of heaven appearing on earth. It is a glorious ray of the heavenly Jerusalem which pierces the clouds of our history and lights up our journey.

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

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