Joshua 3:7-10a, 11, 13-17
When I was stationed at our Christ the King Retreat in Citrus Heights, California, one friend, Mary, and I would sometimes visit her friend, Pat. A very good person, and accomplished as a mother, quilt maker and baker, Pat could not tell any story without a lot of background information. More than once, Mary would say to her: "Get to the point; you’re drowning us in minutiae!" So, Pat would usually speed up her story and get to the point. Yes, a wise person once said: "God is in the details."
Today, we have a very detailed description of the continuing transition of leadership from Moses to Joshua. God even says to him: "Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that I am with you, as I was with Moses." Not only Joshua, but the whole people of Israel was in transition to the Promised Land, and God even dried out the riverbed of the Jordan to ease the people’s transition. We are called to do the same for people in transition, especially the sick, those who have lost a loved one and those making significant changes in life, such as marriage vows or making vows in religious life.
Peter, in our gospel today, seems very detailed when he asks Jesus: "Lord, if my brother (or sister) sins against me, how many times must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus then, in great descriptive detail, goes into the story of the wicked servant, who forgets his master’s loving forgiveness of his great debt and demands a fellow servant to pay a small debt.
God is in the details…the details of family or community life, the details of how our country will deal with health care reform and so many other issues. In all of these, Jesus reminds us of God’s hesed, God’s loving-kindness poured so deeply over all of us.
May we follow the words of St. Paul, who wrote: "Owe no debt to anyone, except the bond of love."
Fr. Bob Bovenzi, C.P. is stationed in Chicago, Illinois.