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Sunday Readings & Reflections


TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY OF YEAR  B

 

Theme: GIVING WAY AND LOVE IN THE LORD

The Ephesians touches on the question of relationships between people within the home (5:21-6:9). It says how wives are to relate to husbands and husbands to wives, then how children should relate to their parents and vice versa. It ends with how slaves should relate to their masters and how the latter should also treat their slaves. The guiding principle is that they should give way to one another “out of reverence for Christ”(Eph 5:21)

 

First Reading:Joshua 24:1-2a. 15-17. 18b;
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34;
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:21-32;
Gospel:John 6:60-69;
Resources used:
*The Sunday Missal, Paulines Publications Africa
*Painting: Poster No. 53, Pentecost – by S. Ajak Bullen


What are some of the injustices that we see in the husband-wife relationship and also in the parent-child relationship? How can we help improve them in our community?

Wives and Husbands

The opening verse of the household code gives the key to read the rest of the code. It reads: “Be subordinate” (or give way) “to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21; see commentary on Holy Family Year B). The verb “give way” is used three times, of which twice is for the wives in their relationships to their husbands (Eph 5:22-24). However, the author keeps the reference to the Lord always in mind. Christ is the head of the Church, which submits “herself” to him.

In many traditional societies, the head of the household, including the woman, is the husband. This was the case in Ephesus. However, the author has another mes-sage. In giving way to him, she is giving way to Jesus himself, because both wife and husband give way to him. We might have difficulty with this type of logic today, but simply put the author is saying that the husband-wife relationship points beyond them to that of the Christ-Church relationship. Their relationship is sacramental.

The husband, in tum, is asked to love his wife in the same way that Christ loves the Church to the point of giving himself up for her and seeking only the good of the Church. According to the author, such love of the wife is, in fact, love of one’s own body. To argue his point he refers to one of the Creation stories. This story shows the unity of man and woman. Both of them are so intimately oriented towards each other that they leave their parents to become one flesh (Eph 5:31; [cf. Gn 2:24]). This being so, a husband who loves his wife loves his own body. The first Creation account, which the author also certainly knew, emphasises that both man and woman are created in the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:26-27).

In our communities, when giving way is demanded from a woman to a man without the corresponding love from the man, the relationship lacks the reference to Jesus as Lord for all of us. The relationships are supposed to be reciprocal (I Cor 7:2-5). It is not only one side that has the burden of obeying. The instructions regarding parents-children relationships (Eph 6: 1-4) and masters-slaves relation-ships (Eph 6:5-9) also have the Lord as their reference. Each person, according to his/her role in the family, has a responsibility, because of the one Lord and the one common good.

Sunday Readings

First Reading Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

“Through the devil’s envy death entered the world.”
A reading from the Book of Wisdom

God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. For he created all things that they might exist, and the creatures of the world are wholesome, and there is no destructive poison in them; and the dominion of Hades is not on earth. For righteousness is immortal. For God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own eternity, but through the devil’s envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it.

The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM
Psalm 30

R: I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.

I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me. O Lord, you have lifted up my soul from the grave, restored me to life from those who sink into the pit.

R: I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up

Sing psalms to the Lord, you faithful ones; give thanks to his holy name. His anger lasts a moment; his favour all through life. At night there are tears, but at dawn comes joy.

R: I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.

Hear, O Lord, and have mercy on me; be my helper, O Lord. You have changed my mourning into dancing, O Lord my God, I will thank you forever.

R: I will extol you, Lord, for you have raised me up.









SECOND READING
2 Corinthians 8:7.9.13-15

“Your abundance should supply their want.”
A reading from the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians

Brethren: As you excel in everything – in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in your love for us – see that you excel in this gracious work also. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich. I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of equality your abundance at the present time should supply their want, so that their abundance may supply your want, that there may be equality. As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”
The word of the Lord.

Alleluia. Our Saviour Christ Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
GOSPEL READING
Mark 5:21-43

“Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark

At that time: When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, a great crowd gathered about him; and he was beside the sea. Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, and begged him, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” And he went with him. * And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard reports about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I shall be made well.” And immediately the haemorrhage ceased; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone forth from him, immediately turned about in the crowd, and said, “Who touched my garments?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’” And he looked around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.” While he was still speaking, * there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” But ignoring what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. When they came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, he saw a tumult, and people weeping and wailing loudly. And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a tumult and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi”; which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” And immediately the girl got up and walked; for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were overcome with amazement. And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

The Gospel of the Lord.



Sunday Reflections


TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY OF YEAR B

*Adapted from: “God’s Word for Christian Communities, Second Readings of Sundays”, by Richard Baawobr M.Afr — Paulines Publications Africa, 2009.