In the readings for Sunday, August 26, we’re reminded that it’s up to us whether we will accept God’s invitation into a relationship … or not.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
Joshua 24:1-2A, 15-17, 18B
“Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:
After Moses’ death, Joshua was the one who led the Hebrew people to the Promised Land. He addresses them at Shechem — a city designated as a place of asylum for lawbreakers — specifically murderers. In that place of mercy, Joshua asks the people if they are ready to turn away from their idols and serve only God. As they became this new nation, they had to be wholly committed to their identity in God.
Then we have that infamous passage from Ephesians … wives be subordinate, husbands love your wives as Christ loved the Church. What is sometimes missed in this, as couples (including myself and my husband) look at each other snickering, is the serious vocation that marriage really is. Wives never act alone — everything they do affects the family, so there needs to be agreement between husbands and wives on decisions that will be made.
Husbands are told that they should love their wives so much that they’d be willing to give up their lives for them. When you stop living for just yourself, and become “one body” with another, it’s serious stuff. You really have to be wholly committed to your identity in God to become the “little church” that marriage calls us to.
Our Gospel wraps up the Bread of Life Discourse, five weeks in the making! When challenged about what Jesus means by eating his flesh and drinking his blood, he doesn’t back down. People leave. He lets them go. God won’t force us to become what he made us for; we have to respond freely.
Jesus asks the Apostles if they will go, too. They say, “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.” By recognizing Jesus for who he is, they were able to be wholly committed to their own identity in God, even when what Jesus said was confusing and a little unbelievable.
Is anything in this world more important to you than God? If so, what? Why?
Where do you think you would have stood in today’s Gospel? Would you have been able to accept what Jesus said, or would you have walked away?
Do you see marriage as a vocation? How easy is it to live up to Paul’s description of what a husband or wife should be?
Make a poster with the words, “We also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.” and everyone help decorate it. Put it up where everyone will see it.
A little lectio
The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.
A little Bible study
Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:
- During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
- Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
- Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
- Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
- If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)
For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.
The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”