The word "crisis" is often tossed around in news reports. Saturday's morning paper had a story of the financial crisis in China causing a crisis on Wall Street and other markets across the globe. There is a refugee crisis in Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and Italy. In our own country there's an immigration crisis and a political one in the Republican and Democratic Parties, with all kinds of candidates vying for recognition 15 months before the election. Our personal lives may be filled with crises as well, including everything from health problems to, for those lucky enough, bad hair days.
The word "crisis" means a turning point. You have to make a choice. It could lead to a bad outcome which we usually associate with a crisis in popular speech, but could also lead to a good result.
Today's first reading and Gospel have an air of "crisis" about them.
Will the people now settled in the Promised Land remain faithful to God who saved them or not? Will they keep the Covenant or abandon it in favor of other alliances? Will the disciples accept being fed by the bread Jesus offered? Will they believe in him as God's gift for the life of the world or not?
Both decisions are made in freedom. God does not force or blackmail the deciders. They are simply invited to make a choice, a choice God respects.
But if they choose to follow the covenant or to accept Jesus as the Bread of Life, that decision was to have an impact on how they would live in the present and the future. Every other decision to be made would be influenced by that critical one. The author of today's 2nd reading reminds Christians that their decision to be in covenant with Christ must be reflected in every other relationship, and those in a marital covenant should love and respect one another in imitation of Christ who gave himself as a loving sacrifice for the church.
These readings present us with the crisis which is at the heart of being Christian. Today is another turning point for us, offered freely by God and to which we freely respond.
Will you walk with Joshua and Peter? If you do, how will that affect the rest of today and the tomorrows afterward? If not, whom will you serve and to whom will you go?
-Fr Sas, August 23 Homily
22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time