- The Abbey of the Genesee - https://www.geneseeabbey.org -

August 17, 2019

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO  

19th Saturday In Ordinary Time
Josue 24: 14 – 29; Ps 16; Matthew 19: 13 – 15

When Josue was chosen to be Moses’ successor, to lead his people into the long awaited, long desired Promised Land, he knew it would be a difficult task. He knew firsthand what Moses had endured, had suffered, had struggled with even from his brother Aaron and his sister, Miriam, let alone so many others.  

In today’s sacred reading we see that Josue continued in Moses’ footsteps, following his example. On many occasion Moses had been very direct with the people, calling them back again and again to living their covenant with God. With that same directness Josue continued to lead.

Josue is very clear, very strong about serving the Lord: “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” This desire on his part will not be wishful thinking or pious dreaming; it will be the substance of his life. In his own words: “Fear the Lord and serve Him completely and sincerely.” He addresses his people with unmistakable clarity: “If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve” – will it be some other gods?

The questions are prompted by God Himself and the desire to follow in faithful obedience is due to God’s grace. Josue is very clear about himself and his family and he is calling others to be just as clear. No more idolatry, no more half measures, no more blatant disobedience. Make up your minds. Do you truly desire God and choose to live that desire? What do you say? He does not let them off the hook. They respond, “We will serve the Lord.” To that desire, Josue responds, “You are your own witnesses that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”

St. Gregory the Great wrote: “The language of souls is their desire.” This is true of our souls, our spirits; our whole life of faith is a life of desire for the Lord, a desire always prompted by God’s grace.  When we pray, we are desiring God, when we receive the Holy Eucharist, we are desiring God – a desire that is most sacred, most divine and life giving.

Could it not also be said that the language of God’s soul, His Spirit is desire? Not desire for Himself – God is never in need rather His desire is always for our good, our eternal well being. This message is all through the Sacred Scriptures. If we had the occasion to say to our God, “Lord, what do You desire?” I believe His answer would be very simple – “You, I desire!”