22nd August 2021
LET’S MAKE A DECISION TO SERVE GOD
Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b
“choose this day whom you will serve”
There are moments in our lives when we are expected to make very important decisions. Decisions which have to be made, could affect the rest of our lives or the lives of those around us. Decisions have to be made of the choices before us. Every moment of our life offers so many choices, and yet only one choice has to be picked.
But there is one important decision we all have to make; that is, to decide for God or not, to live with God or without Him. This is the big decision we see being made in the first reading and in the gospel.
In the first reading after Joshua brought the Hebrews across the river Jordan into the Promised Land of Canaan he asked them to decide whom they would serve, either God or the pagan gods their ancestors had worshipped. They chose to worship God.
They saw that putting God first brings you a much better life but rebelling against Him is really inflicting a wound on yourself. Yes, that first generation that crossed the Jordan into Canaan had learned so much by seeing their rebellious parents die in the desert. They did not want to make the same mistake as their parents so they said to Joshua that they too, like Joshua and his family, wanted to serve God; “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;....we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.” Joshua 24:18.
Unfortunately, it is a different story in the Gospel today. Many of the followers of Jesus turned away from him when they heard his preaching about the Eucharist. Hearing Jesus speak about his body and blood as nourishment was too much for them; “...Many of the disciples of Jesus said, ‘This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?’....... many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him.” John 6:60, 66.
When many were contemplating not following Jesus anymore, he practically made an appeal to them to reconsider when he said to them that, the spirit gives life while the fresh has nothing to offer. The words that Jesus told them were spirit and life. In other words,
if they turn from Jesus they would be turning from life to death.
if they turn from Jesus they would be turning from light to darkness.
if they turn from Jesus they would be turning from freedom to slavery.
But peter understood correctly and responded to Jesus, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68. Indeed, to whom shall we go? Going to anyone or anything else would be a mistake.
The Hebrews in the first reading decided to worship God because they saw that when you put God first you have freedom, but when you turn away from God you are not free. They saw that obeying God and putting God first brings a blessing but forgetting about God and turning one’s back on God leaves one in the desert.
“Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods;....we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”