FEAR THE LORD AND SERVE HIM PERFECTLY AND SINCERELY
(Saturday, August 17, 2019)
Throughout the Old and the New Testament, references to children are often times references to those who have no power, who need others to protect them, and who will not survive unless someone cares for and nurtures them. In the Scriptures, children often stand for the weak, powerless, marginalized and disenfranchised in society. In other words, this Gospel is not primarily a sentimental story about innocence but is part of the social teaching of Christ.
We should not be like the Apostles in this Gospel, who did not permit the weak and powerless to get closer to Christ and receive his blessing. Instead, we should facilitate that particularly the marginalized receive Christ’s blessing and receive his blessing and support through our prayer and social engagement.
Such an understanding allows us to connect this Gospel story to the first reading. God has liberated Israel from Egypt; he has shown his blessings on them in Egyptian society. The people of Israel recognized that God liberated them and when asked by Joshua, “decide today whom you will serve,” In no uncertain terms, Joshua laid out a clear choice in today’s first reading: What God are you going to serve; the Lord who has done so much for you or a strange god? Joshua didn’t sugar coat this choice. He told the tribes of Israel to choose, warning them that their God was a jealous God. In their reply, they say, “far be it from us to forsake the Lord for the service of other gods.
For it was the Lord, our God, who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, out of a state of slavery.” The enslaved Israel was liberated by God. Similarly, Christ promises to the weak, powerless, and marginalized – the children in the Gospel – liberation from whatever makes their life difficult and cumbersome. He promises them ultimately the Kingdom of God.
The reply of the Israelites is something we need to think about today. After considering how much God has done for us, all we have received from Him, His goodness, kindness and love, what are we going Irahukwara nkeoma repay Him in return with?
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me the grace to serve you with my whole heart and may I be childlike in following you. Amen.