Chosen, Schmozen

Sometimes I think we hear bible and religious terms to the tune of: “That again, what’s the big deal?” Terms like:  holy, sanctified, sacred, ancient, established, marked, set apart, covenant, chosen.

As we rush through life and religion, we sometimes make an assumption that we know what the language is and there is no reason to understand more.

Maybe these are terms that we have heard our whole lives.  Maybe we stopped paying attention.  Maybe we never had a full understanding in the first place.

It seems to me that one of those terms is: “chosen people.” They’re so special, different than any others. Who do they think they are?

Actually, the “chosen people” are more special than any other people in the history of the world.  That’s a truth in the teaching of our own Church. There’s no inherent pride or ego in that. But for us, as believers, that choice by God has life-altering implications.

God so loved the world that not only did he give up his only begotten son, but he also gladly took on more than he ever needed to: you and me for all eternity.

Let me expand on that.  In the history of the world the Jewish people are the only race, ever, to have had a leader (Moses) who dialogued directly with God and lived.  Scripture tells us that no ordinary person could be in the presence of God himself and live.  Yet Moses, the Israelite had that privilege.  Moses in his own words:

“You are a people sacred to the Lord, your God; he has chosen you from all the nations on the face of the earth to be a people peculiarly his own.  …the Lord set his heart on you and chose you….   It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn to your fathers…. Understand, then, that the Lord, your God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his merciful covenant down  to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments, but who repays with destruction a person who hates him;…. (Deut. 7: 6-9)”

It is also interesting to note that Israel, of all the countries of the Middle East, is the tiniest, stuck exactly in the middle of all the other nations. It’s also the only country that, at that time, had no warlike ambitions, preparations, or intentions.

Israel and its people are special in a way that no other peoples in the history of the world have ever been.  This lends curiosity to the idea that God, who was not visible, was not good enough for them. They wanted a King you could see like all the other nations around them. On the other hand, that initial blunder was the reason that we got Jesus as a saving gift from the Father.

So what does all this have to do with gentile you and me?  Everything for eternity, literally!  In the drama of mankind’s constant struggle with the desire to go it alone, God does not relent in his love for the human race and his promise.  When Israel stopped paying attention, He sent Jesus to teach his love and generosity to all of mankind.

Through Jesus, God taught that if we were willing to Love him and follow his teaching, we too had the same privileges, by adoption, that the Israelites were originally granted.

We, that’s you and me, were “grandfathered in.”  This reality is an astounding generosity from the Father.  None of us did one thing to deserve that.  This is simply a function of the Father’s love.

In the New Testament Paul teaches the Ephesians:

  “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will”  (Eph 1:11).   Again in the first letter to Peter we hear: “You are: ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood,  holy nation, a people of his own so that you may announce the praises’ of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Pt. 2:9).

In your deepest self, do you remember what it was like to be chosen for that team or date, for that committee or college, or by the one who loves you?  Now really focus and magnify that experience by a million!   The truth is, you and I are chosen by the Creator of the universe!  That, in itself, should be life-changing.

Copyright 2014, Kathryn M. Cunningham

Kathryn M. Cunningham

Kathryn M. Cunningham

Kathryn holds a Master’s in Education from Saint Xavier University. Most recently she completed Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from The Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. This recent degree was part of a “retirement project” after teaching for 35 years. She has also worked as a spiritual director, music minister,council member and prayer team warrior. Kathryn has a deep interest in catechesis for the people in the pews. As a “sort of” convert she finds the wisdom of the Church a source for encouragement, joy and survival in a world not sure of anything. Her writing has appeared in diocesan publications and on-line sites, most recently for Zenit. To learn more about Kathryn check out her thinking at:">

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