Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, as we pray with Psalm 34, our Sunday readings present us with spiritual ultimatums.
In our first reading, sensing his impending death, Joshua gathers the tribes on the Great Plains of Shechem – the land of their father Abraham. Joshua requires a commitment from the people:
“If it does not please you to serve the LORD,Joshua 24:15
decide today whom you will serve …
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
In other words, “fish or cut bait” – you’re either with God, or you’re not. And your lives should reflect the choice.
In our Gospel, Jesus too feels death’s approach. His teachings have become more intense and direct, particularly regarding the Eucharist. This intensity has caused some of his listeners to waver. They’re not sure they can accept his words. Some drift away.
Jesus challenges the Twelve, those on whom he depends to carry his message after his death.
“Do you also want to leave?
These readings talk about the big choices, the soul’s orientation, either:
- to seek and respond to God in our daily interactions
- to be indifferent toward God’s Presence in our lives
(As for the unfortunate and contested second reading from Ephesians, this long but superb article from Elizabeth Johnson is worth your time.)
Poetry: Choose – Rainer Maria Rilke
You see, I want a lot. Perhaps I want everything: The darkness that comes with every infinite fall And the shivering blaze of every step up. So many live on and want nothing And are raised to the rank of prince By the slippery ease of their light judgments But what you love to see are faces That do work and feel thirst… You have not grown old, And it is not too late to dive Into your increasing depths where life Calmly gives out its own secret.
Music: I Will Choose Christ – Tom Booth