I had a friend in high school whose family in their living room had a crucifix, and underneath the crucifix was a large plaque that had a quote on it from our first reading today from Joshua ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’
That image has always stuck with me, because I think we all need to have such a plaque – in our houses perhaps, but definitely in our hearts and in our minds.
One of the great heresies of modernity that we can so very easily buy into is that we are the masters of our own destiny. That I am the most important, that I am only beholden to myself. It’s a lovely sentiment I suppose, but it certainly has nothing to do with who we were created to be.
This past week at Mass Class Bishop Barron reminded us that every time we begin Mass, or indeed any prayer, we begin with the Sign of the Cross – it’s something we’ve talked about before, the extraordinary power of that simple prayer – because in a spiritual and physical way it reminds us who we really belong to. We belong not to ourselves, but to God – that everything we are, everything we do belongs to God and should be done in His name – in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
At our Baptism, like we are blessed to have another one here this morning, the first thing we did today to claim this child for Christ was to mark her with the sign of the cross – to claim this child for Jesus. The same happened to you and me. And in that we are not our own. We are not the masters of our own destiny. We are branded to Jesus. We belong to Jesus, not to ourselves, not to all the other false gods in our lives that we can be tempted to worship.
Whom then do we serve? Far too often we forget that we are not our own – and we find perverse comfort being enslaved by our own ego.
But we are called to live in the true freedom of the children of God. That was imposed on us at Baptism, but like Joshua we now need to make a choice – we make that choice in simple ways in our everyday lives, when we ask ourselves does this choice, this word, this action of mine – is this what Jesus wants for me, what Jesus calls me to, or is it simply what I want? Is this worshiping and serving God, or is this worshiping and serving myself?
As we examine our lives this week, let us pray for the grace to grow in our everyday moments to be able to proclaim that in all things, in all areas of our lives ‘as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ God help us all.