READINGS for 2007-08-20
OUR LITTLE IDOLS
“If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” – Matthew 19:17
God was very clear in His instructions. If we really want to be His disciple, then we must surrender our lives to Him by following His will.
But in today’s world, it is so easy to get distracted by many things that may cause us to compromise our moral beliefs. Some may claim that they have kept the commandments to the dot, i.e. never missed Sunday Mass, never harmed anyone, etc. but the real problem lies in our internal desires which bring about idols that enslave us. There is always a tendency for us to be too caught up with life’s pleasures, thus, we are prone to temptations. Each of us may have different idols. For some it would be the desire for material possessions; for others, it can be a quest for prestige and power, or it may even be our very own self when we become too proud of our achievements and rely on our own strength.
Whatever shape or form an idol takes in our lives, it has to be dealt with utmost seriousness. We must not allow ourselves to be held captive by any of our idols so we may gain eternal life and peace with God in heaven. Jane G.
What is the little idol that enslaves you?
Lord, help me to remember that nothing in this life is more valuable than You.
In the period of Israel’s history covered by the Book of Judges, we find the Israelites’ fortunes going up and down according to whether they are faithful to the Lord or bow down before other gods. Prosperity and success are directly related to the degree of faithfulness of the people. This may sound a little simplistic but it indicates for us the level to which their faith has developed, namely, only so far as a reward-and-punishment faith. We all go through this phase but hopefully will move beyond it to deeper levels of faith where personal sacrifice and commitment are more prominent.
11 The Israelites offended the LORD by serving the Baals. 12 Abandoning the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had led them out of the land of Egypt, they followed the other gods of the various nations around them, and by their worship of these gods provoked the LORD. 13 Because they had thus abandoned him and served Baal and the Ashtaroth, 14 the anger of the LORD flared up against Israel, and he delivered them over to plunderers who despoiled them. He allowed them to fall into the power of their enemies round about whom they were no longer able to withstand. 15 Whatever they undertook, the LORD turned into disaster for them, as in his warning he had sworn he would do, till they were in great distress. 16 Even when the LORD raised up judges to deliver them from the power of their despoilers, 17 they did not listen to their judges, but abandoned themselves to the worship of other gods. They were quick to stray from the way their fathers had taken, and did not follow their example of obedience to the commandments of the LORD. 18 Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, he would be with the judge and save them from the power of their enemies as long as the judge lived; it was thus the LORD took pity on their distressful cries of affliction under their oppressors. 19 But when the judge died, they would relapse and do worse than their fathers, following other gods in service and worship, relinquishing none of their evil practices or stubborn conduct.
P S A L M
Psalm 106:34-35, 36-37, 39-40, 43, 44
R: Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
34 They did not exterminate the peoples, as the LORD had commanded them, 35 but mingled with the nations and learned their works. (R) 36 They served their idols, which became a snare for them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. (R) 39 They became defiled by their works, and wanton in their crimes. 40 And the LORD grew angry with his people, and abhorred his inheritance. (R) 43 Many times did he rescue them, but they embittered him with their counsels. 44 Yet he had regard for their affliction when he heard their cry. (R)
G O S P E L
It is very possible that wealth will stand in the way of our relationship with God for the reason that it tends to occupy our time.By this I mean that if we are wealthy, then we have to spend a lot of time supervising our wealth to see that it is used well. This can mean that we have less time for our relationship with God to the point that it may be neglected. Our priority must always be our faith. We must never allow wealth to stand between us and our commitment to following God’s will.
16 Someone approached him and said, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” 17 He answered him, “Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He asked him, “Which ones?” And Jesus replied, “You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; 19 honor your father and your mother’; and ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
think: We must never allow wealth to stand between us and our commitment to following God’s will.
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Lamentations 1-2
THERE IS ALWAYS THAT ONE THING MORE!
With all the good intentions in the world, we can commit ourselves to a particular course of action and then discover that the one little exception clause that we had at the back of our mind when we made the commitment comes into play! How often has this happened to you? What has been your response when it happens? From my own experience with similar situations to this, I believe that it is here we discover what we truly believe and the degree to which we are really committed to that particular course of action. If we back out, our ability to commit is seriously called into question as is our character in the face of difficulty and suffering.
The rich young man remains nameless in this parable because his name is your name! Each of us is rich in the blessings of God and each of us has a so-called Achilles heel when it comes to being asked to let go of something we enjoy! What your Achilles heel is I do not know but you had better discover it so you can defuse it and remove it from your life before it causes a problem with the commitments you have made that really matter to you.
Jesus challenges us to let go of everything that would hinder us from entrusting our entire lives to Him. If you reflect on that fact long enough, you ought to be able to discover the thing or things that you are going to have difficulty in surrendering to Jesus. It is a good practice for all entering into marriage to talk to their future spouses about this aspect of their life or it could be the cause of great difficulty further down the track.
We do not know what the final response of the young man in the Gospel was – I hope he reconsidered and decided to follow Jesus’ invitation. Our lives will be a catalogue of ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could or might have beens’ if we are unwilling to surrender all to Jesus. This challenge is a critical and foundational part of our discipleship. It will determine the level of faith walk we have for the rest of our lives! Fr. Steve T.
REFLECTION QUESTION: Am I willing to let go of everything I have in order to faithfully follow Jesus? Remember, more often than not we get most if not all or even more back in return, at least in the life to come if not now!
Jesus, You gave Your life for me; help me to be willing to surrender all You ask me to surrender so I will be obedient to Your will for my life.
St. Amadour, hermit, pray for us.
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