Today’s First Reading is a concluding testament of Joshua as the Israelites settle in the Promised Land. When they renew their commitment to serve the Lord and leave other gods behind, including the gods of the peoples the Lord displaced on their behalf, Joshua sets up a stone in memorial of the pledge the people of Israel made to serve the Lord. Imagine the years passing by as they saw that stone and remembered how faithful or unfaithful they were. Joshua warned them before they pledged their devotion to the Lord that it would not be easy.
Have you ever returned to the fount where you were baptized? Like the Israelites it is thanks to generations of Christians who preceded us, especially our family, that we were baptized and became members of the People of God, set on the path toward our Promised Land in Heaven. Not only the Church’s monuments and cultural achievements remind us of what the Lord has done for us, but the existence of the Church herself, not just as buildings and institutions, but as a People of believers.
In an ever-secularizing society we need these reminders of what the Lord has done for us, and for those we love. Let’s make Joshua’s pledge today our own: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Readings: Joshua 24:14–29; Psalm 16:1–2a, 5, 7–8, 11; Matthew 19:13–15. See also 19th Week in Ordinary Time, Saturday, Year II.