Readings for August 26, 2018
Joshua 24:1-2, 15-18
While many disciples chose to stop following Jesus and return home, he asked his closest friends, “What about you guys? You ready to leave and go home also?” Peter provides an insightful answer. He asks, “to whom shall we go?” It’s a fascinating response because it presupposes that without someone to follow they are lost, perhaps even indicating the fate of those disciples that returned to their former lives.
Joshua intimates a similar message when he tells the Israelites, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Moses had previously told the Israelites something similar. He said, “I’m following this God guy and He’s going to lead me to the Promised Land!” And the Israelites turned to each other and said, “Follow that guy!” The Israelites had followed Moses to the cusp of the Promised Land, but after Moses’ death, Joshua takes on the leadership role and he uses it to remind them of who they were truly following. Who Moses was following all along, and who Joshua and his house follow and serve now, was and is the Lord. And he exhorts the Israelites to do the same.
St. Paul’s message about husbands and wives could be viewed in a similar light. Husbands and wives are called to focus less on where they are going next in their lives and what’s on their shared Google calendars, and more on who they are married to, who they have chosen to love and serve. My wife and I are starting to sometimes get the hang of this after more than 30 years, and there are times when she takes the lead and others where she depends upon me to do so. In all cases, we count on one another and know that our love can only be a reflection of what God has provided for each of us.
The statement of Jesus’ flesh and blood being “true” food and drink lays to waste the Gospel of Prosperity. The disciples wanted their own notion of heaven here on earth but Jesus does not conform to the world. The good news has nothing to do with earthly wisdom or material wealth. Trusting in Jesus requires that I suspend my own notions of what I believe I want or need, and it requires that I look to him to lead me to what he knows I need — God’s love, and the never ending life within that love.
And so Jesus, in a full manifestation of God’s love for me, spills his blood and offers his flesh for the life of the world. And after someone does something like that for you, why would you leave them? To whom would you go?
Jesus, I trust in you. May the eyes of my heart be enlightened, that I may know what is the hope that belongs to your call, what are the riches of glory in your inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of your power for us who believe and trust in your word. Amen
-Based on Ephesians 1:18-19