Mass Readings for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

  • First ReadingJoshua 24:1-2A, 15-17, 18B :”He performed those great miracles before our very eyes and protected us along our entire journey and among the peoples through whom we passed. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 34: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”
  • Second ReadingEphesians 5:21-32 OR 5:2A, 25-32: “This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.”
  • Gospel John 6:60-69: “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Themes for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

The readings for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B remind us that discipleship is a choice. In the first reading Joshua challenges the Israelites to decide if they will serve the Lord or pagan gods. In the gospel, some of Jesus’ followers walk away because they cannot accept what he is saying.

  • Endurance
  • Perseverance as disciples
  • Eucharist

See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B.

Resources for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Where Should We Go? A Lesson Plan on Following Jesus

Where should we go? Should we follow the Lord or rely on ourselves? This lesson plan on following Jesus looks at what it means to walk by faith.

Minefield Game (Youth Group Game or VBS Game)

Minefield game is a youth group game which can be used to start a discussion about navigating and finding our way.

Thanks Be to God My Deliverer – A Prayer Based on Psalm 34

Psalm 34 is a prayer of thanksgiving which David prayed when God delivered him from his enemies. This prayer based on Psalm 34 expresses this same sentiment. God delivers those who are weak and broken and powerless.

Homilies and Reflections for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Time to Test Your Faith

From Bishop Robert Barron. “Friends, today’s Gospel concludes John’s reflection on the Eucharist. At the end of this remarkable chapter, we are faced with a question that defines the Christian faith: Will you follow Christ? May we always answer as Peter does.”

A Choice to Make

From Scott Hahn. “This Sunday’s Mass readings conclude a four-week meditation on the Eucharist. The Twelve Apostles in today’s Gospel are asked to make a choice—either to believe and accept the New Covenant He offers in His Body and Blood or return to their former ways of life.” Continue reading.

Real Presence

From Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Contemplation. “The very notion of presence is inherently and necessarily relational and also somehow embodied. Note that Jesus did not say ‘Think about this,’ ‘Prove this,’ ‘Look at this,’ ‘Carry this around,’ and, surely not, ‘Argue about this.’ He just said, ‘Eat this . . . and drink all of you’. As Augustine would preach later, the message is that you are what you eat and drink!Continue reading.

Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?

From Bishop Robert Barron. “In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus’ followers reacting to his shocking teaching about eating his flesh and drinking his blood by saying, ‘This is a hard saying; who can accept it?’ To understand Jesus’ meaning, we must understand that he’s not using symbolic or metaphorical language. He’s speaking words of ‘Spirit and life’ which bring into being precisely what they signal.”

More Thoughts for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

We want to encounter Jesus and understand him. But our own ways of thinking can get in the way. We hear the words, but interpret them with our own lens. But Jesus speaks so clearly in this case.

Many people were not ready to hear and accept his message. They left. This can happen to us also. Our hearts aren’t ready to accept what Jesus wants us to know. We have a choice to leave, or to persevere and keep listening.

The word Jesus uses for eat can really be translated as “gnaw”. This requires more effort than just eating. We must keep trying in order to partake in the life of Christ.

Reflection Questions for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

  • What do I find difficult to accept?
  • Have I ever been tempted to walk away?
  • Is there something about Christ which I need to gnaw on today?

Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

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.”

John 6:69

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