A reading from the book of Deuteronomy
(Chapter 4:32-34, 39-40)
At the time of this writing, about 1200 B.C., virtually all the nations and tribes that surrounded the Hebrews believed in more than one god, in some cases many gods. Moses was telling his people once again that there was only one God, and that it was the one God who had given them a new homeland. The Hebrews had been in the desert for 40 years, and now the day had arrived for them to enter the Promised Land. But, there were two conditions. They must worship only the one God, no false gods, and they must keep God’s commandments. Of course, the people said yes, but they were often seduced by false gods that led them to disaster.
We can all think of celebrities and millionaires that have given into money, power, and prestige. But about us? What false gods can take the place of the one God in our lives?
“Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.” We are that people, and we are blessed.” That is quite a gift and quite a responsibility. It does not call for passivity or false pride but rather for joyful thanks.
A reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Romans
The word “abba” in Aramaic means more than father. It can be translated as “daddy” and it is a term of intimacy that Jesus used to describe his relationship with his Father, and here Paul says that we have received the Spirit of adoption through whom we cry ”abba, Father.” That is amazing. We can think of God as our loving daddy. That is a far cry from the fear of the old judgmental man in the clouds that many of us were taught years ago. Have you ever called God your daddy? It does sound strange at first, but if you try it you might become comfortable with it.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
(Chapter 28: 16-20)
It is true that we were made in the image and likeness of God, but that does not mean only the Father. It means the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit—a community of persons. We are communal persons, not a bunch of individualists thinking and acting only for ourselves and by ourselves. Our community certainly starts with our family, but it needs to go beyond to our parish, our friends and neighbors, and especially to people that come to us in need.
Often, the times when we are most troubled are when we cut ourselves off from others and are afraid to ask for help or just someone who will listen to us. We are not meant to be alone, but sometimes circumstances put us in that lonely place. If you know someone who is lonely, try to reach out to that person. If you are lonely, reach out as well, perhaps through a social-ministry programs in your parish. That is why they exist.
Photo by Sharon Santema on Upsplash.
Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayers was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. Bill was a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.