“Choose today whom you will serve,” Joshua challenges his troops in today's First Reading. (Joshua 24:15)
In the Gospel, Jesus issues a similar ultimatum: "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father." When a number of disciples depart, He says to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” (John 6:65, 67)
Joshua’s troops stay. The Twelve stay.
Everyday, we face the same challenge: Decide today whom you will serve. Do you want to leave?
To be honest, some Sundays, I do not want to wriggle myself into something presentable and go to Mass.
Like. . . today. I just finished my first week back in the classroom with a bunch of teenagers, and I would like to spend my Sunday sleeping and changing from pajamas into a swimsuit and just sitting in the sun with a cold drink for most of the day. (I am single and deep into my late 20s. Don’t begrudge me this dream. Don't worry, I have a hat and sunscreen, too. Again, I'm deep into my late 20s. I've learned this lesson.)
But here’s the thing. When I woke up this morning, I had to answer for myself and decide: Whom do I serve? I want to stay close to the Lord. I want to serve my God. And for Catholics, staying close to Christ means staying close to the Eucharist, especially in the Mass, especially on Sundays.
Saint Peter speaks for all of us when he says, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." (John 6:68)
And truly, to whom can I go without the strength of Christ? As Joshua’s troops cannot enter battle without the strength of God protecting them, I cannot venture into my daily life without His grace enveloping me. The Mass—weekly, at least, or more if you’re lucky and able—is an affirmation of our answers to these questions.
Master, to whom shall we go? Only to You. Christ draws us back again and again, reminding us always of Who it is we serve. Let Him draw you close.
Brigid Hogan is a high school English and ESL teacher who lives in northeast DC. She is passionate about Catholic social teaching and tries to live it out daily in her relationships and community. Most of her pleasures are guilty ones like television, burritos, and Twitter. Find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations Mystery: Beloved found here.