“Be a Joshua”, By Brian Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Twenty-first Sunday of Ordinary Time

How did you get here? I don’t mean, “What did you type into Google?” or “What link did you click?” I mean how did you get here, a point in your life where you’re reading blogs on the Sunday Readings for Catholic Mass, when you could be reading something on Buzzfeed like “15 Unexpected Uses for Ghost Pepper Hot Sauce” (intriguing, right? Good thing that wasn’t a real link or I would have lost you right there as you went on to read that instead).

You probably had somebody in your life who taught you about the faith; about living a spirit-filled, fully Catholic life. I bet even more than “teaching” you about the faith, this person modelled it by the way they lived it out themselves. It might have been a grandparent, a youth minister, a friend, a priest. I’d also wager that this person didn’t force the faith on you, but rather the reason they’re coming to mind right now is because it was more of a “hmm they have something that I want” experience for you.

In the First Reading for this Sunday, Joshua is speaking to the Israelites, and he says the often-quoted line, “As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Less quoted but also important to context, are the preceding lines, starting with “If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve…” Maybe the “Joshua” in your life said something similar and gave you that kind of freedom to respond for yourself to God’s work in your life. It might have taken some trust in God and some detachment on their part, but that freedom to respond probably made your “yes” to God that much more authentic.

And sure enough in Joshua’s case, the people reflect on all the LORD has done in their lives, particularly leading them out of slavery in Egypt, and respond “Therefore, we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.” How could they not?! And how can we not?

Now let’s put ourselves on the other side. Who in our lives have we been a “Joshua” for in the past? And who do we need to be a “Joshua” for today? Along with Joshua’s challenge for the people to make a choice, was the witness of his own “yes” to God. Are we living out our own faith in a compelling way, that those around us would be inspired to choose to serve the LORD?

We can also reflect on the idea of “AND my household.” Of course, having our infant children Baptized is a little different than the idea of “forcing” the faith on an adult sibling for example, but either way it’s about the INFLUENCE of our own faith in the lives of our family and close friends. It’s not “As for me, I will serve the LORD, and I could care less what the rest of my household does.” It’s “As for me and my household (while doing it in age appropriate ways and primarily through the witness of my own life and faith), we will serve the LORD.”

And finally the flip side of that one; when we act as a Joshua in the lives of others, inspiring them to respond to God’s work in their lives, think about how our work is then magnified through their households; in other words all those that they will in turn impact for God. We will never even know this side of heaven how far reaching the ripple effect is, when we share our faith with those we encounter.

So, thank God for all the Joshua’s in your life, and be one today. As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

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