August 17, 2019: Joshua 24:14-18.
Do you welcomes a challenge? Or do challenges make you uncomfortable because of the risk involved? Our first reading today is about a challenge. Joshua, the successor of Moses as leader of God=s people, challenges them to renew their commitment to the God who has delivered them from bondage in
, and who
is about to lead them into a new land. AIf it does not please you to serve
the Lord, decide today whom you will serve. ... As for me and my
household, we will serve the Lord.@ Egypt
The people accept Joshua=s challenge. Without hesitation, they renew their commitment to the One whose miraculous care and guidance they have experienced: AFar 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
, out of a state of slavery. . . . Therefore
we will serve the Lord, for he is our God.@ land of Egypt
Turning away from commitments is common today. It is called Akeeping your options open.@ Many people consider that a key to happiness. That explains why people live together without marrying. ALet=s try it out first,@ they think B not realizing that there you cannot try out marriage without marrying, any more than you can try out parenthood by baby-sitting someone else=s child.
The Church asks commitments of candidates for priesthood, from Sisters and Brothers taking religious vows. Who can promise the young man on the day of his priestly ordination, the young woman on the day of her religious profession, that it will work out B not just for a year, but for a lifetime? No one can make that promise! The commitment must be made simply in faith
And the really big payoffs in life come to people who make such commitments. If you insist on keeping your options open, on retaining ultimate control of your life, you may achieve a measure of fulfillment and happiness. Life=s greatest reward, however, you will not achieve. That is reserved for those who choose an option and go for it; who make a commitment with no strings attach; without any If or Ands or Buts.
More than sixty-five years after ordination I can same the same of my own experience of priesthood. There have been dark days, even dark years, as well as sunny ones. But I have never regretted the commitment I made over sixty-five years ago B not one single day.
In this hour Jesus Christ is challenging each one of us, as his namesake Joshua challenged the people in his day: ADecide today whom you will serve.@ What is your choice? Will you decide for yourself, for keeping your options open? Or will you decide for Jesus Christ?
Jesus is waiting for our response, right now.