21st Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)
God presents us with a choice in the scripture readings we hear at Mass this Sunday. Joshua gathers the tribes of Israel and tells them, “If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve . . . As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Jos 24:15). In the gospel, Jesus similarly gives the Apostles a choice after many of the disciples left him because he said to eat his flesh and drink his blood. “Do you also want to leave?” he asked (Jn 6:67). Peter responded, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68).
We all have choices to make. Do I eat lunch in the cafeteria or in my room? Do I wake up when my alarm goes off, or hit the snooze button? Do I respond to this text message or ignore it? Do I take time to study? Do I honor my commitments? Do I follow my conscience? Do I seek help when I feel overwhelmed or try to struggle through on my own?
We have the ability to make choices because God made us free. This is because God is free, and we are made in his image. We can freely choose to sin. But freedom is also what makes it possible for us to love. God always respects our freedom, which is why Joshua and Jesus give their followers a choice: will you serve the Lord, or will you leave? It’s up to you.
You’ll be called to make many choices during your college career, some of which will impact the rest of your life (no pressure!). Choosing a major is one important choice, but some of the most meaningful choices may not seem as obvious: your choice of friends, for example, or your choice to participate in Sunday Mass or join a small group Bible study. Your time in college can be a time to grow in the knowledge and love or God; or you can choose to take a different path. It’s entirely up to you. God loves you either way; that’s why he will respect your choice.
But God wants you to choose him, because he loves you and he knows that being faithful to him will ultimately bring you happiness. We want to help you to make that choice. During this first week of the Fall Semester, we have special activities planned every day for you to get to know other Catholic students and learn about the opportunities our ministry has for you. You’ll find our Welcome Week schedule here.
Next week we’ll be launching our small group Bible studies. There will be more information about those in our next newsletter. Mark your calendars for the Eucharistic Congress in Charlotte (Sept 17-18) and our Fall Beach Retreat (Oct 1-3). And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok to stay in touch with all that’s happening in our ministry!
Our Campus Ministry Student Center and Chapel is open throughout the week for students to come and spend time hanging out in the lounge, praying in the chapel, doing homework or meeting up with friends. You’re always welcome to pop in and see me in my office any time I’m there. If you’d like to make an appointment just click this link. I look forward to seeing all of you in the coming days!