The readings this week are all about belonging! Who do we belong to, and why does that matter? In the first reading, Moses reminds the people of whose they are. They are a people who’ve been favored unlike any other in their encounters with God. They have heard His voice and have become a nation belonging to the Lord. This people have a history of God delivering them from horrible captivity, but for what purpose? They were chosen, protected and delivered, so that they could worship this God that they truly belonged to – to fix their hearts upon their Deliverer and keep the statutes and commandments of God. Why? Because, having been the recipient of such a generous God, their willing response of love shows that they are a grateful people. This gratitude will impact future generations. Whose we are matters because it enables us to freely live for Him with gratitude and not servile, manipulative obedience.
The Psalm echoes the first reading. “Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own.” We see this theme of belonging continue. The Lord is trustworthy, just and right. He is kind and creative. His creation is steadfast, and He delivers and preserves those who fear Him. We are truly a blessed people, and we are encouraged to wait and depend upon Him for all things.
With the second reading from the New Testament, we realize that this belonging is for us, too. In fact, the relationship is now seen as familial. We are so close to God and one another that we can rightly be called brothers and sisters, and the common connection we hold so dearly is that we have the same God, whom we call “Abba, Father!” We are children of God, heirs; we belong to Him and He to us, and all of us to one another. This belonging will strengthen us when we encounter difficulties and sufferings. If you remember the difficulties the children of Israel had in Egypt, you know that God delivered them from that great captivity. God, who is our Father, will protect us as His children, and is with us in every moment and every struggle. The Gospel brings this idea to its completion. We belong to God in such a familial way because of Jesus! All power was given to the disciples who were commissioned to go and tell the world about Jesus’ great love. They were called to go make disciples, and you and I are the recipients of their obedience. We are now in the family of God, having been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The love of the Trinity is poured into us through baptism, and we can live out this life-giving love daily. We obey, not out of servitude but rather, out of gratitude. We belong to Him and He to us. We truly have one another to lean upon and depend upon, and this will be appealing to a world that so desperately wants to belong to something lasting, significant, and of value. We are the witness of a people who are blessed, having been chosen by the Lord to be His own! We belong to Him!