Scripture: Joshua24,14-29; Resp. Psalm: Ps16,1-2,5,7-8,11; Gosp. Accl.: Mt19,13-15; Gospel: Mt19,13-15
The last discourse of Joshua with the people of Israel is a scripture passage that merits being read over and over again. Joshua was at the end of his life and mission. He had been faithful to Yahweh all his days. He had followed in the footsteps of Moses his master. He had carried the burden of leadership after the exit of the great Moses.
Like every mortal, Joshua too knew he had to pay the price of death. But before he left the stage, knowing the character of the people he was privileged to lead, he had to commit them to some fundamental obligations they had to Yahweh, the God of their salvation. Joshua told the people that it was time to make a decision. They had known Yahweh; they had seen His deeds.
Knowing the polytheism in Canaan and knowing the antecedents of his people, Joshua asked them to fear Yahweh, serve Him in sincerity and faithfulness, hold on to Yahweh in every stage of their history. Joshua himself had made his own choice: that both himself and his entire household would serve the Lord.
The people equally responded by committing themselves to serve and worship Yahweh all the days of their lives. Joshua then set up a sign to mark the covenant the people made with their God that day.
The point Joshua made today is very evident: that God is the only One who deserves our unalloyed attention, worship and service. God is the only One we should bow down to and no other. God is the only One we should fear and serve in sincerity and faithfulness. He is the only One who should be our portion and cup.
We should realize all the time that when we have God on our side, nothing can move us. When we have Him at our side, He will show us the path of life and give us the fullness of joy in His presence. He will give us happiness at His right hand.
All we need do is to serve Him in sincerity and faithfulness. All we need to do is to worship Him in simplicity of hearts. These are the qualities that children are made of. This is the reason why our Lord told His disciples today not to send away the children people were bringing to Him.
The disciples were still living in a cultural milieu in which children are seen, not heard. They were still operating within a system that paid little attention to the great potentials inherent in children. Our Lord changed all of that faulty mindset. He rather proposed the virtues of children for the emulation of all.
How do we serve the Lord? What position does He occupy in our lives? What roles does He play? What ways do we please Him? Do we begin and end everything we are and have with Him? Do we introduce Him to others? Do we serve Him alone and forget our responsibilities to teach our children and family to serve and worship Him in like manner?
Let us pray: Lord our God, the profession of faith by Joshua today challenges us to a rethink of our relationship with you. You have called us to sincere and faithful service. We ask your forgiveness for the times we have failed to do this. Give us your grace to wake up to our responsibilities. Give us courage and steadfastness to worship you in sincerity of heart. May our lives bear much fruit for the glory of your name. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.