21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Who shall we go to? You are the Holy One of God

John 6:68

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Prayer for Healing – Eric Nordhoff

Introduce the Gospel

This is the Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our journey through John Six comes to a close in the final scene between Jesus and Peter as spokesperson for the Twelve. At the centre stands one of the many great questions in the Fourth Gospel: “will you also go away?” Perhaps in the past we would have glided over such a question, but today that is impossible. Even before the pandemic, many had “gone away.” I do not have in mind here mere church attendance but rather walking away from the Christian faith as such. It does raise a question for “the remainers”: can I identify for myself why am I still engaged in the great adventure of the faith?

From Kieran O’Mahony Hearers of the Word for this Sunday

Read the Gospel John 6:60-69
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

After hearing his doctrine many of the followers of Jesus said, ‘This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’ Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, ‘Does this upset you? What if you should see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?

‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.
The words I have spoken to you are spirit
and they are life.

‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the outset those who did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. He went on, ‘This is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him.’ After this, many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.
Then Jesus said to the Twelve, ‘What about you, do you want to go away too?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, and we believe; we know that you are the Holy One of God.’

Reflect on the Gospel using Imaginative Prayer

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use some quietening music again if you wish.
See here also some popular methods for engaging with scripture and leading into contemplation.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

When you are ready, move onto reflecting on what took place in the Gospel, either sitting with the passage and your own reflection on it or using one or more of the following prompts for reflection arising from the Gospel.

  1. In this chapter Jesus teaches that the meaning of his life, and the meaning of all human life, lies in being prepared to give of oneself.
    When have you learned that life was more worthwhile when you were prepared to do that?
  2. “This teaching is difficult”, complained his hearers, including some of his own followers. Perhaps at times you also have wondered if you could go along with it. What helped you to overcome your resistance?
  3. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life.” In the midst of your doubts perhaps you have held on to belief because, like Peter, Jesus offered you a more hopeful message than you could find anywhere else.
    How has the gospel message been more attractive to you than any other?
  4. “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life”.
    Recall the teachings of Jesus that have particularly spoken to you.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in written or on video.

The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.

The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.