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Weekend Homilies
A listing of recent homilies delivered at my parish.
Una lista de homilías recientes entregadas en mi parroquia.
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  • Pub Date: Aug 22, 2021 - 8:00 am
  • 08-22-2021 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
  • Listen:
  • Reading:
    Joshua 24:15
    As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
    We do not see the full speech that Joshua gives. As he is speaking to his fellow Israelites, he is relating to them all the wonders that God has done for them throughout their journeys from Egypt. What we have is a short conclusion of everything that he says. And he concludes with the line I quoted above.
    I have always seen that as a… challenge to the Israelites, and to all of us! Think about it. Here you have the leader of your nation reminding you of all the things God has done and then he says this line: “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
    Now, this Joshua has been a warrior, a faithful disciple of Moses, he has led you across the dry ground of the Jordan River that parted just like the Red Sea did. He led you to conquer Jericho with nothing more than trumpets and a shout of victory.
    And he stands before you and says: “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua knew the authority that he had in the eyes of the people, and the approval he had from God. So when he spoke, it was a statement charged with the energy of the victory of God. Joshua was making a defiant declaration in the face of the Israelites.
    Do not misunderstand this. He is trying his best to – on the one hand urge his people to holiness – and the other hand to warn them of the consequences of failing to serve the Lord.
    This is the same type of challenge that Jesus is giving to his apostles in the gospel today. Peter APPEARS to be responding with a naïveté that is at once charming, and is another type of the declaration that Joshua made that is full of strength because he somehow knows who Jesus is and what are the consequences of following him.
    I think it would be wrong to underestimate the knowledge of the situation that the apostles were in. They knew that Jesus was… something far different than anything they had seen.
    Yet they stayed when so many others abandoned Jesus because of what he was saying about him being the Bread of Life. This is why the church attaches these two readings together from Joshua and from John.
    Peter’s words at the end of the gospel ring true, especially in connection with Joshua’s words. Listen to them together: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” And “as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
    In the bulletin this weekend for St. Mary and St. Peter and Paul, the following comment about stewardship was printed: “When we commit to serve the Lord, we must be willing to become a disciple in the work of the Lord. A disciple is a person who spends time in prayer every day, joyfully participates in charitable works and generously supports their local parish and Church mission. If we say we serve God, we must actually do something and not merely talk about it!”
    I am afraid it is far too easy for us to lose sight of the kind of commanding call to holiness that the church, that Jesus gives us. What are we, individually especially, expected to respond with when we hear these kinds of words, especially from Joshua?
    I knew a young father who had made a plaque of this saying of Joshua. At one time he had it hanging just above the front door so that everyone as they were leaving the house would see it and remember what was expected of them. As they left their home they would be asking that question of themselves. Joshua put it so forcefully that it almost does not sound like a question.
    But I will ask it of you by first repeating what Joshua said to the Israelites. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Who have you decided to serve? And how?
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