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Sunday 25th August ::: EVERY READING AT MASS TODAY

Theme of the Sunday: Free to Choose Christ. In our lives there are two paths, the path of love and the path of selfishness. The second reading states clearly the meaning of “love.” A married couple give their love to each other by looking after each other. We must all choose the relationship we want with others. The first reading informs us about the choice made by the people of Israel at the great assembly of Shechem: they decided to choose God and to reject all idols. A life of love is neither easy nor comfortable. It demands self-denial, self-giving and control of our passions. So many prefer the other way. This is the central idea of today’s gospel. Christ says that we must identify ourselves with him, be with him, walk with him along the way of self-sacrifice. Many leave him, and “accompany him no more” but there are some who remain firm. God grant that we are among those.

The Gloria     
When indicated this hymn is either sung or said
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

“We will serve the Lord, for he is our God. ”
A reading from the Book of Joshua (Joshua 24: 1-2a. 15- 17.18b)
In those days: Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “If you be unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell; but as for me and  my house,  we will  serve the Lord.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
The word of the .Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM   Ps 34: 1-2.15-16.17-18.19-20.21-22 (R. 8a)
Taste and see that the Lord is good !
I will bless the Lord at all times,
praise of him is always in my mouth.
In the Lord my soul shall make its boast;
the humble shall hear and be glad. R.
The Lord turns his eyes to the just,
and his ears are open to their cry.
The Lord tums his face against the wicked
to destroy their remembrance from the earth. R.
When the just cry out, the Lord hears,
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted;
those whose spirit is crushed he will save. R.
Many are the trials of the just man,
but from them all the Lord will rescue him.
He will keep guard over all his bones;
not one of his bones shall be broken. R.
Evil brings death to the wicked;
those who hate the just man are doomed.
The Lord ransoms the souls of  his servants.
All who trust in him shall not be condemned. R.

“This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.”
A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians (Ephesians 5:21-32)
Brethren: Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, and is himself its Saviour. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Even so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.
The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA  John 6:63c.68c
Alleluia. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of eternal life. Alleluia.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 6:60-69)
At that time: Many of the disciples of Jesus said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offence at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him. Jesus said to the Twelve, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
The Gospel of the Lord.

The Creed (I Believe)
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Christ has the words of eternal life.
My brothers and sisters, our personal love for Jesus Christ opens the way for us to eternal life. We make our prayers to God our Father that the world may listen to his Son’s voice.
FOR ALL PREACHERS IN THE CHURCH, pause may their constant teaching be of Christ’s love for us and ours for him, since he is the one who makes it possible for us to share in God’s own life. pause Lord, hear us; increase our faith we pray Oh Lord.
FOR THE LEADERS OF OUR COUNTRY, pause may they value the Christian heritage they have received, and in all their laws and deliberations, protect the freedom of the individual to practice the Church faith. pause Lord, hear us; increase our faith we pray Oh Lord.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LOST FAITH, pause may the Holy Spirit help them to look again at the life of Christ, and know that he alone has the words of eternal life. pause Lord, hear us; increase our faith we pray Oh Lord.
FOR TRULY LOVING CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE, pause may all Christian husbands and wives reflect in their married lives the love which Christ has for his Church. pause Lord, hear us; increase our faith we pray Oh Lord.
We pray in silence for our own intentions to God our Father, who loves us.
PRIEST: Father, we acknowledge you as our God, and in our prayers, we turn to you for help. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today's Reflection
On this Twenty First Sunday in Ordinary Time Cycle B, the Church encourages us to always choose Christ. At times when we come to the crossroad of life, we become confused because we need to make choices that will make or mar our future. The First Reading and the Gospel presents us with two choices: between remaining or abandoning God. Joshua asked the Israelites to make a choice: between serving God and other gods. Christ asked his disciples: “What about you, do you want to go away too? Using the analogy of marriage, Paul reminds us that just as a man or a woman chooses a wife or a husband due to love, so did Christ choose and took us to Himself. King David displayed his wisdom by making a right choice: “I do not want to be punished by human beings. Let the Lord himself be the one to punish us, for he is merciful” (2 Sam 24:10-25). In spite of all odds, choosing to remain with Christ is, and will always be the best choice for anyone who is as wise.

Today's Prayer Point
Be sorry for the number of times you have doubted the reality of God grace in your life through your disposition and attitudes ask God's mercy and forgiveness.

Let Us Pray
Away from me Satan! For I will worship the Lord my God and serve him only. Get behind me Satan for you no longer have dominion over me. You can no longer constitute a stumbling block to me and my enterprise. My Lord has given me authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the powers of the enemy. Nothing will harm me. My Lord has given me the boldness, courage and spiritual strength to stand against you Satan, today. Grant me the grace not to lose the sense of your reality every moment of my life in the name of Jesus. Amen.
 Vestment: Green
Today’s Rosary: Glorious Mystery

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