Proper 16 – Year B

1 Kings 8:(1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43; Psalm 84; (or Joshua 24:1-2a, 14-18; Psalm 34:15-22); Ephesians 6:10-20; John 6:56-69

“As fragrance abides in the flower, as reflection is within the mirror, so does your Lord abide with you.” – Guru Nanak

                Today’s reading has the famous line of Joshua to the people: “Choose this day whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)  This is echoed in the question Jesus asks the apostles in today’s Gospel:  “Do you also wish to go away.” (John 6:67)  How about us?  Who will we serve?  Do we wish to go away?  Both the people in Joshua’s day and also the apostles of Jesus said they will stick around.  Of course, things had not gotten rough yet.  Denials will come later.  How does that work for us?  Again today Jesus is talking about eating his flesh and drinking his blood.  He says this is how we remain (see Greek below) with Jesus and how Jesus remains with us. (John 6:56)  Celebrating the Eucharist, receiving Communion, is a microcosm of the macrocosm.  It is a little picture, a snapshot, of the bigger picture of how we live our whole lives.  Remaining with Jesus is not simply about remembering Jesus sitting at the table.  If we abide with Jesus we are in reality sitting at the same table two thousand years ago, sitting at that long ago table even when not in church.  Living with Jesus transcends the artificial boundaries of time and space.  Walter Cronkite tried to get at this in his old television history series called “You are There.”  The difference when dwelling with Jesus is that we are actually there.  He is here.  This is what we mean by “real presence.”  It is not just about Jesus being really present.  It is also about us being really present, being present to Jesus by being present to each other.  In a chicken/egg sort of thing, being present to Jesus and to each other goes hand in hand.  In both cases times meld together and stop.


                The word “abide” in John 6:56 is variously translated: abide, dwell, remain, live.  It’s like the fragrance and the reflection in the above quote from Guru Nanak


As a bird in wind,

so a mountain peak in cloud,

so my Lord in me.