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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings, History, Old Testament

The Kingdom is for Children

Submitted by on Saturday, 13 August 2011No Comment

joshua-shechem-renewal

Today’s Readings

  • Reading I:  Joshua 24:14-28
  • Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 16
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 19:13-15

The Covenantal Vows of Israel

Joshua 24:14-28 which follows the recital of saving events can be divided into two parts: (a) the response of the people to the saving events constituted by the promise to serve the Lord totally and to reject idolatry (14-24) and (b) the renewal of the covenant (25-28).

The first part is similar to what we do during the Easter vigil when we renew our baptismal vows to reject (i) Satan, (ii) his works, and (iii) his lies. The promise of the people to serve the Lord and be loyal to His covenant in effect puts them against the idolatrous nations around them while at the same time puts them at the service of the Holy One of Israel whose advance through human history should have been characterized by the destruction of the Un-holy. The Promised Land can only become the Holy Land when it is totally placed under the reign of God. And this would have been possible in the fidelity of the Israelites to their covenant vows. But as subsequent history will show, Israel will be so commingled with the nations around them that they will become as un-holy as their neighbors. And for that reason, they will be expelled from the Promised Land.

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Let the Little Children Come to Me

The Gospel selection from Matthew 19:13-15 shows Jesus rebuking the his disciples for trying to prevent people from bringing their little ones to Him. He says that the kingdom of Heaven is for such as these. We have already shown how the idea of "little ones" being inheritors of the Promised Land is highlighted in Numbers 14. The same idea is underlined by Jesus in the question as to who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. The Catechism of the Catholic Church associates this text to infant baptism. The Liturgy of Santo NiƱo incorporates this text in its hymns highlighting the importance of being like children.

Joshua 24:14-28
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
14Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him with a perfect and most sincere heart: and put away the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
15But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
16And the people answered, and said: God forbid we should leave the Lord, and serve strange gods.
17The Lord our God he brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: and did very great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way by which we journeyed, and among all the people through whom we passed.
18And he hath cast out all the nations, the Amorrhite the inhabitant of the land into which we are come. Therefore we will serve the Lord, for he is our God.
19And Josue said to the people: You will not be able to serve the Lord: for he is a holy God, and mighty and jealous, and will not forgive your wickedness and sins.
20If you leave the Lord, and serve strange gods, he will turn, and will afflict you, and will destroy you after all the good he hath done you.
21And the people said to Josue: No, it shall not be so as thou sayest, but we will serve the Lord.
22And Josue said to the people: You are witnesses, that you yourselves have chosen you the Lord to serve him. And they answered: We are witnesses.
23Now therefore, said he, put away strange gods from among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord the God of Israel.
24And the people said to Josue: We will serve the Lord our God, and we will be obedient to his commandments.
25Josue therefore on that day made a covenant, and set before the people commandments and judgments in Sichem.
26And he wrote all these things in the volume of the law of the Lord: and he took a great stone, and set it under the oak that was in the sanctuary of the Lord.
27And he said to all the people: Behold this stone shall be a testimony unto you, that it hath heard all the words of the Lord, which he hath spoken to you: lest perhaps hereafter you will deny it, and lie to the Lord your God.
28And he sent the people away every one to their own possession.
Matthew 19:13-15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
13Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them.
14But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such.
15And when he had imposed hands upon them, he departed from thence.
Joshua 24:14-28
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
14Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him with a perfect and most sincere heart: and put away the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.
15But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
16And the people answered, and said: God forbid we should leave the Lord, and serve strange gods.
17The Lord our God he brought us and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: and did very great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way by which we journeyed, and among all the people through whom we passed.
18And he hath cast out all the nations, the Amorrhite the inhabitant of the land into which we are come. Therefore we will serve the Lord, for he is our God.
19And Josue said to the people: You will not be able to serve the Lord: for he is a holy God, and mighty and jealous, and will not forgive your wickedness and sins.
20If you leave the Lord, and serve strange gods, he will turn, and will afflict you, and will destroy you after all the good he hath done you.
21And the people said to Josue: No, it shall not be so as thou sayest, but we will serve the Lord.
22And Josue said to the people: You are witnesses, that you yourselves have chosen you the Lord to serve him. And they answered: We are witnesses.
23Now therefore, said he, put away strange gods from among you, and incline your hearts to the Lord the God of Israel.
24And the people said to Josue: We will serve the Lord our God, and we will be obedient to his commandments.
25Josue therefore on that day made a covenant, and set before the people commandments and judgments in Sichem.
26And he wrote all these things in the volume of the law of the Lord: and he took a great stone, and set it under the oak that was in the sanctuary of the Lord.
27And he said to all the people: Behold this stone shall be a testimony unto you, that it hath heard all the words of the Lord, which he hath spoken to you: lest perhaps hereafter you will deny it, and lie to the Lord your God.
28And he sent the people away every one to their own possession.
Matthew 19:13-15
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
13Then were little children presented to him, that he should impose hands upon them and pray. And the disciples rebuked them.
14But Jesus said to them: Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such.
15And when he had imposed hands upon them, he departed from thence.

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