Scripture: Lectionary 418. Joshua 24:14-19. Psalm 16:1-2,5,7-8.11. Matthew 19:13-15:
All three readings are positive and beautiful in their message and their content. We hear the completion of the covenant made with God through Moses and Joshua with the people in our continuation of chapter 24 of Joshua. It is one of the great passages on covenant theology and one that we can return to often to recall the essentials of the covenants God makes with the people and with us.
Joshua reads the preamble as we saw in yesterday’s reading and now turns to the stipulations and commandments of cooperation in the covenant. The response of the people is important and Joshua is able to get the whole community to respond with great enthusiasm and conviction. They affirm they will do all that is implied in the covenant with God. It is then engraved on a stone and placed at the base of the holy tree at Shechem.
Psalm 16 is filled with great optimism and joy. The hymn lifts up our spirits helping us to realize that happiness is a gift from God and that we can tap into this generous gift through our prayers, our praise of God, and our singing of psalms. This particular psalm 16 may be the first psalm that points to a life after death with God and a personal resurrection. Death is overcome through our daily union with God who shows us each day the paths to everlasting life.
Jesus is seen summoning, blessing, and embracing the little children. He wantsto make sure that no one will hinder or hurt them for they are destined for the kingdom of heaven. We are all children of God and are encouraged by our Lord to be like children through our simplicity of life, our humility, and our openness to the love of Jesus who is always there with his welcoming call and his embrace. Indeed, what a beautiful passage we have this day from the Gospel of Matthew. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.