— The Lord’s Day —

Sunday of Week XXI

“If it is displeasing to you to serve the LORD, choose today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15.)

Origen of Alexandria (part 2 of Pope Benedict’s reflections on Origen) comments on this verse from the First Reading proclaimed at Mass today:

“Therefore, what Joshua said to the people when he settled them in the holy land, the Scripture might also say now to us. The text reads as follows, “Now fear the Lord and worship him in sincerity and righteousness.” And it will tell us, if we are being misled to worship idols, what follows, “Destroy the foreign gods which your fathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and worship the Lord.” Then in the beginning when you were going to be instructed, it would have been rightly said to you, “And if you be unwilling to worship the Lord, choose this day whom you will worship, whether the gods your fathers worshiped in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites among whom you dwell on the land.” And the catechist might have said to you, “But as for me and my house, we will worship the Lord because he is holy.” He does not have any reason to say this to you now; for then you said, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods. For the Lord our God, he is God, who brought us and our fathers out of Egypt ... and preserved us in all the way that we went.” Moreover, in the agreements about religion long ago you gave your catechist this answer, “We also will worship the Lord, for he is our God.” If, therefore, the one who breaks agreements with men is outside any truce and alien to safety, what must be said of those who by denying make null and void the agreements they made with God, and who run back to Satan, whom they renounced when they were baptized? Such a person must be told the words spoken by Eli to his sons, “If a man sins against a man, then they will pray for him; but if he sins against the Lord, who will pray for him?” (Exhortation to Martyrdom, 17.)

Reflection and study of the Gospel text for this Sunday.

O God,
Who cause the minds of the faithful
to unite in a single purpose,
grant your people to love what you command
and to desire what you promise,
that, amid the uncertainties of this world,
our hearts may be fixed on that place
where true gladness is found.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen