Yesterday’s Mass had us starting on a set of readings from the Book of Joshua. But, we began with Chapter Twenty-Four, and I complained about our skipping the first twenty-three chapters. I went on to speak about the great events recalled in Joshua, Chapter Three. That is where the Israelites by a miracle similar to their passing through the Red Sea, were allowed to pass safely through a flooded River Jordan to the Promised Land.
The events recorded in Chapter Four of the Book of Joshua were not as momentous as those in Chapter Three, but their uniqueness is appealing.
In Chapter Four when the whole people of Israel had arrived safely on the west bank, and the priests carrying the Ark were still back at the center of the river bed, Joshua sent one young man from each of the twelve tribes back down into the depths of the river bed. Each of them was to carry out the biggest boulder her could tote. After calling the priests with the Arc up onto the riverbank, Joshua had the young men place the boulders in a circle on the bank. He then declared that the circle of stones was to be left there as a memorial of the crossing, and as a pledge of unity to the twelve tribes. He gave a name to that place. It was Gilgal, “The Circle of Stones.”
Of what does that remind you? Is it the thirteen stars on Old Glory? If so, your thoughts might lead you back to thoughts of how our Founding Fathers saw us as a Chosen People. That circle of twelve stones and that circle of thirteen stars should stir in us thoughts of gratitude and thoughts of obligations.