THE SNARE OF IDOLS

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

Reflection: Matthew 19: 16-22

THE SNARE OF IDOLS

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

WHAT ARE YOU CLINGING TO?

Tuesday 20th January – Feast of Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi

Reflection: Philippians 2: 1-11

WHAT ARE YOU CLINGING TO?

His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave…” (Philippians 2: 6-7)

The mystery of the incarnation continually baffles man through the centuries. To think of the immense love that led God to come and live amongst us as man is indeed very puzzling. However, it is not enough to simply reflect on God’s love. It is more important to imitate that love – to return love for love; loving God and our neighbour in response to the love His has shown to us (1 John 4:19).

In today’s first reading, St Paul reminds us that Christ did not cling to His equality with God, but emptied Himself. As human beings we tend to hold tightly to our possessions. The desire for permanent comfort and fear of future lack often prevents us from letting go of that which we have be it wealth, position, power, privilege, fame etc. Man tends to hold tightly to whatever good he possesses, often times to the detriment of himself and his neighbour. What are you clinging to? What are you holding on to so tightly that is preventing you from seeing the needs of those around you?

Dear friends, it is only when we let go of an unhealthy attachment to mundane things that we can empty ourselves like Christ. It is only when we do not allow our possessions to possess us that we can truly humble ourselves and treat others with love and compassion. Only then would we be able to look out for the interest of others and consider others better than ourselves as St Paul admonishes us to today (Philippians 2: 3-4). Today, let go of that which you are clinging to and let the love of Christ shine through you to all.

PRAYER: Thank you Lord for loving me so much. Please free me from all worldly attachment that I may extend the love you have shown me to those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2779 – Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn “from this world”. Humility makes us recognise that “no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to who the son chooses to reveal him,” that is, “to little children.”

HIDE A TREASURE: “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 RSV-CE

Readings for Today: Philippians 2: 1-11; Isaiah 12 (canticle); Matthew 13: 44-46

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

Friday 4th April – Friday of the 4th week of Lent

Reflection: Wisdom 2: 1, 12-22

DARE TO BE DIFFERENT

The disciples were first called “Christians” in Antioch (Acts 11:26). This name which means “followers of Christ” was given to this new religious sect whose preaching, life and example was very much like that of Christ. Indeed as Christians, were called to be followers of Christ and the way we live our lives is the real proof as to whether or not we are Christ’s followers. As Christians, we are called to live a life that is different from that of the world around us. We are to live in holiness and in obedience to God. Indeed Christ tells us “though you are IN the world, you are not OF the world”.

Our Christian faith does not call us to live on our own, separated from other human beings; instead it invites us to live our calling wherever we find ourselves. Our lives are to be shining lights, showing unbelievers the way to salvation and peace. Today’s reading shows us that the life of a Christian is continually a challenge to unbelievers. They see something higher than themselves. While they are pushed around by their sinful lusts and desires, the self mastery of the Christian speaks volumes to them, bringing condemnation on them.

Dear friend, does your life speak of your relationship with Christ? As young people, let us submit ourselves to Jesus and to the working of the Holy Spirit in us. Let us make a decision to live out our faith, even in the face of persecution from friends and classmates. Once we desire holiness, and strive for it, we will be surprised at how God will pour His grace upon us so that we can truly live for Him.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, please help me to live for you and let my life we be a source of evangelization to those around me. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 347 Why is “not practicing what you preach” such a serious deficiency in a Christian?

Agreement between one’s life and one’s witness is the first requirement for proclaiming the Gospel. Not practicing what you profess is therefore HYPOCRISY, a betrayal of the Christian duty to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers and example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” 1 Timothy 4:12 RSV-CE

Readings for today: Wisdom 2: 1, 12-22; Psalm 34: 16-23; John 7: 1-2, 10, 25-30