August 22, 2021

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

  • First reading and Psalm
    • 1 Kings 8:(1,6,10-11), 22-30, 41-43
    • Psalm 84
  • Alternate First reading and Psalm
    • Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18
    • Psalm 34:15-22
  • Second reading
    • Ephesians 6:10-20
  • Gospel
    • John 6:56-69

The gospel reading from John:
Jesus said “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Christ in the Synagogue, Rough sketch in oils
1868, Nikolaĭ Nikolaevich

He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

Jesus’ disciples, other than the faithful twelve, turned back and no longer went with Him. They said that His teaching was too difficult to accept. Pastor Stevensen’s past confirmands have asked questions about this teaching. They do not readily accept that “No one can come to Jesus unless it is granted by the Father” as Jesus said. Pastor in his sermon today poses the question “Who is going to win?” Jesus asked the twelve who stayed “Do you also wish to go away?” Peter, in particular, grasped the truth. He replied that “We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” Peter went on to preach the gospel as far away as Rome. Thomas traveled to India. Pastor goes on to convince us to be not discouraged and to press on.

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