“As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” My family has had a plaque with that very verse on it for as long as I can remember. This has always been one of my favorite quotes from Scripture. But it certainly is a hard thing to say, and Joshua makes that very clear in today’s first reading. Serving the Lord makes demands of us. We are called to live the Gospel and serve the poor and love everyone as we love God and forgive, and so much more. We are also told that we have to turn away from the worship of other gods, whatever those might be for us. Are they the gods of wealth, success, prestige, or self-interest? We must turn away from them. Are they gods that hold us back, bound to our own comfort, reluctance, or apathy? We must cast all of that out. Serving the Lord requires nothing less than total self-giving, because the Lord has first given everything to us.
The kingdom of heaven, as Jesus reminds us today, belongs to those who are like children before him. We must become childlike in our trust and obedience to the one who gives us life, love and salvation. We are called to decide today whom we will serve. Will it be the Lord, or someone or something else? For those of us who step forward to receive the Eucharist today, the answer must always and only be, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”