Sunday 11th October – Sunday of week 28 of the year

Reflection: Mark 10: 17-30


Given our African setting, it is easy to point an accusing finger or raise a brow at anyone who has a carved image under some tree which he prays to, pours libation or recites incantations. Yet, if we are not careful, we may be just as guilty of idolatry as such a person is. The Church teaches us that idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It consists in divinizing what is not God (CCC 2133).

The young man who met Jesus in today’s gospel reading was sincerely interested in inheriting eternal life. St Mark’s record that he “ran up” to meet Jesus shows us that he was eager to meet Jesus and know what he would say. This eagerness was confirmed by his admission that he had made efforts to keep all the commandments since his youth. Unfortunately, despite his zeal and earnest desire for eternal life, Jesus’ answer saddened him. The sacrifice it required was too much for him because his was attached to his wealth; it had become his idol.

Dear friend, what would you hold back at the expense of your salvation? What is it that the gospel message will touch in your life and leave you sad? That is your idol. Identify and destroy it now before it destroys you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, may nothing separate me from your love. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 358 – why does the Old Testament forbid images of God, and why do we Christians no longer keep that commandment?

In order to protect the mystery of God and to set the people of Israel apart from the idolatrous practices of the pagans, the First Commandment said, “You shall not make for yourself a graven image” (Ex 20:4). However, since God himself acquired a human face in Jesus Christ, the prohibition against images was repealed in Christianity; in the Eastern Church, icons are even considered as sacred.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you’re your heart be also” Matthew 6:20-21 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Wisdom 7: 7-11; Psalm 90: 12-17; Hebrews 4: 12-13; Mark 10: 17-30



Monday 17th August – Monday of week 20 of the year

Reflection: Matthew 19: 16-22


Idol worship undoubtedly is a sin well condemned in the Scripture. In fact, the first and second of The Ten Commandments handed down to Moses by God emphasize the need to acknowledge and worship only one God (Exodus 20: 1-6; Deuteronomy 5: 6-10). Time after time, the Israelites were guilty of idolatry and were punished for it. A case in point is the first reading of today (Judges 2:11-19). Beyond the worship of graven images and the likes, idolatry in its broader sense means divinising anything other than God i.e. the ascription of worship, honour, allegiance and love only due to God to anything or persons other than God.   
In the light of our modern age, many of us, especially Christians can openly vouch that we do not have graven images we worship. However, taking a closer look at our way of life, can we be truly said to be free of the sin and snare of idolatry? Today, the worship of gods like “Sango”, “Oya”, “Ogun,” (traditional gods in Yoruba land) etc is being replaced by the worship of material things, fame, money, pleasure, etc.

Dearest in Christ, is anything competing for or displacing the love of God in your heart? Do you readily compromise your faith for bodily pleasure or material gain? God has carved our hearts solely for His worship and He daily welcomes us to serve Him in liberty and love. To substitute His love with that money or other transient gains of this earth portends grave danger to our soul.

Today’s gospel reading presents the account of the man looking for the ultimate good – Eternal life. Though he has many good works to his credit, he however was lacking in something very fundamental – dependence on God.  His love and attachment to wordily treasures exceeded his love and quest for God; hence, he left Christ sorrowfully. Beloved in Christ, this is a warning to us Christians, especially youths of this age. God is not interested in partial commitment to Him; He desires absolute allegiance to Him.  We cannot both serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24). Our hearts must be daily guided against the seductive lure of idols to gain eternal life.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I acknowledge you as the King and owner of my life, please help root out of me all that compete for Your Lordship in me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 352 What is the meaning of the commandment, “I am the Lord, your God” (Ex 20:2)?

Because the Almighty has revealed himself to us as our God and Lord, we must not place anything above him or consider anything more important or give any other thing or person priority over him. To know God and to serve and worship him has absolute priority in our life.

The commandment to love God is the most important of all commandments and the key to all the others. That is why it stands at the beginning of the Ten Commandments.

Hide a treasure: “… you shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” Mt 12:30 RSV-CE

Today’s readings: Judges 2:11-19; Psalm 106:34-37.39-40.43-44; Matthew 19:16-22