I again wish to feature the homily that Fr. Edwin Gomez gave last Sunday based upon these readings from scripture: Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b; Psalm 34:2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21; Ephesians 5:21-32, John 6:60-69
There are just too many choices.
In our modern culture we have so many options that many times we can’t choose one over the other.
We can have 500 hundred channels of cable TV and still have nothing to watch on the television.
We treat life like sampling a Chinese pu pu platter: we want to be able to try everything.
College students many times have 2, 3 or 4 majors … different degrees so they can have a lot of job options.
Too many choices! And we want to have it all.
Today we have two examples in the scriptures of just the opposite.
The fact is that spiritually and honestly for the best things in our lives we do need to make choices that exclude other things.
Joshua in our first reading tells the people that they could choose to worship the God of their ancestors, the God that they were used to, or they could choose to worship the God of this new land, the God that will be unfamiliar to them. Joshua leads the people to choose to serve the Lord, the one God of Israel. They made their choice.
A choice between goods will always be a difficult choice
and it always excludes something else.
The same thing happens with Jesus in our Gospel, This is the 5th week in a row that we hear “I am the bread of life”.
Stop saying that!
What they said was, “This is too hard. This teaching is too hard; we cannot accept it!”
Jesus made it clear a choice had to be made: “Choose to believe that I am the Son of God that came down from heaven. And the way that you believe in me is that you will eat my body and drink my blood.”
This saying is too weird. This teaching is too hard.
The healing, the teachings were nice, the reaching out was nice and inspired them, but now he has gone too far.
What is sad about this scripture is that some of his disciples turned away and no longer follow him. They went back to their former lives.
I wonder what in our day will make us choose like that. What could Jesus say to us that will make us say, “This is getting too hard, I do not know if I can do it!”
Some of us struggle with some of the teachings of the church.
I have and I do. There are a few things that I can think of that cause me to say, “This is hard, who can accept it?”
For some of us it is hard to accept that God is forgetful.
He forgives us and unlike humans, he forgets. God holds no bitterness, no resentments, and no anger against you.
It is hard to accept that God is blind and he is indeed blind.
He does not see the negative or the broken in us, only the positive and the possibility of healing and fullness of life.
It is hard to accept that God is stubborn and he is indeed stubborn
He will not give up on us, ever. There is nothing we can do to make him love us any more than he does. And there is nothing we can do to make him stop loving us. He will pursue our hearts, for decades if he has to, until he gets us to fall in love with him and let him in.
I think what the gospel is inviting us to say is what Peter says, what Peter representing all the apostles said to Jesus:
“Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of everlasting life.”
“We are convinced that you are the holy one of God.” Notice that Peter does not say, “Okay! I got it, I understand it all, and I am right on board with you.” I am sure Peter and the disciples were as freaked out as everyone else.
But Peter’s answers reflect faith and faith sometimes needs to step out.
There are things that we do not believe, things that we do not completely understand. Maybe there are things we do not agree with. We say, “This is a hard saying,” but where else will we go?
“You have the words of everlasting life.”
We had to make a choice by coming here. There are a lot of things that we could be doing but we made a choice to come here.
At some point in our life we are forced to make a choice between one thing and another.
The choices we make now will affect us later on. We will need to let go of things in order to get what is really important. To me the choice is to be present as much as I can in my life. To see the beauty in everything, to find God in everything, even in our struggles, shortcomings and sins, and to remain open and aware that nobody has all the answers.
For me it is about letting go of all my junk, letting go of my prejudice, my control, my securities and the false belief that I have to know it all and have all the answers.
So, maybe we do struggle, I know I struggle. Sometimes I do not get it. And yet to whom shall we go?
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