“As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Who do you serve? Every day this question is posed to us as we arise and as we ready ourselves for rest. We have every opportunity to serve God; or, we can choose to serve false idols. Joshua asks God’s people to make their choice. Joshua proclaims that he will serve God. On the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, we will also hear Jesus ask His disciples who they chose to serve. St. John says that many of them “returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” The way of the Cross is not easy and God asks much of us; He asks us to live as He lives and to be of Him. Pope Francis said, “Jesus tells us that in order to follow Him, to be His disciples, one must deny oneself – that is, the claims of one’s own selfish pride – and take up one’s very cross.”
Each one of us is called by the Sacrament of Baptism to choose God. We are given the cloth of God and wear it through our anointing. We stretch that cloth as we grow and the cloth can become our most comfortable clothing; we are never without it. The cloth is seamless with each one. That is wearing God. That is being His disciple.
How does Jesus fit us for this ‘wearforever’ garment? He offers us the Gift of Himself through the Eucharist. Pope St. Leo the Great affirms that by partaking of the body and blood of Christ, we are changed into what we receive. He writes, “For the effect of our sharing in the body and blood of Christ is to change us into what we receive.” This means that through our reception of the Eucharist we become Jesus for our world today, its “bread come down from heaven”. We are the bread then that feeds the people who hunger for God; each one who thirsts for His mercy.
That seems like quite a tall order! How do we do that? We choose God. Choosing God is not something that we do individually and keep to ourselves. Choosing God is a commitment to bring God into the world; to make ourselves the sanctuary for God and from us into our homes, our workplaces, our leisure. Choosing God is delivering His family to Him no matter where we are.
In awe and wonder we look to the heavens—look to Jesus—for answers. Jesus was tireless in preaching the Father’s Kingdom in word and deed. God sent us His Son so that we could personally see “those great miracles before our very eyes and (He) protected us along our entire journey and among the peoples through whom we passed.”
Jesus prayed. He called attention to the importance of prayer by teaching us how to pray. He taught us the importance of liturgy because He lived His faith. He forgave the people who spat upon Him; He gave sight to those who could not see Him; He did not refuse the widow or orphan and shared what He had with them. He ministered to the migrants, to the outcasts. He became a prisoner himself. He showed us that sacrifice out of the most glorious love will yield glory to God. He gave us His Peace.
Think about all the ways in which you choose God. Did you greet your family with prayer? Did you praise God for all the gifts you have received? Did you use your talent to increase His Kingdom? Did you share God’s love with those you encountered today? Each one of us can build God’s Kingdom if we choose God. It starts with dedicating yourself to God each day and offering all that you do to Him. It ends with examining your day as God’s chosen to tell God that you did your best in bringing forth His Kingdom.
May we utter our assurance, as Peter did, that we will stay with Him and serve the Holy One of God who has the words of eternal life.
Editor’s Note: The Orlando Liturgical Conference will be held on August 27-28 at Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church in Winter Park.