Monday, May 11, 2009

False Gods

First Reading: Acts 14:5-18
Psalm: Ps 115:1-4, 15-16
Gospel: John 14:21-26


In today's reading, we hear of Paul and Barnabas working miracles in Lystra. They are mistaken by the locals as Greek gods. Sacrifices are prepared for them; they restrain the locals, but only just.

In our culture, there are many people that are treated as though they were gods. They seem not to be subject to the rules that 'mere mortals' must follow. Crowds hang on their words and actions. An appearance at one event or another sways loyalties. Newspapers and television shows are filled with their various triumphs and hardships. In this, are we guilty of idol worship? Similarly, when we find that we have a desirable talent, what do we do with it? Do we lord it over others, do we boast, do we seek special favors or treatment?

In the gospels, whenever Jesus was becoming very popular in a particular city, he would quietly move on to another area. He does this so the crowds do not carry him off to make him king (see John 6:14-15). His mission is to direct the people back to God, and to fulfill the will of the Father. Jesus always gives thanks and praise to the Father for the works he does, and humbly submits to the Father's will. It is because he was able to do this perfectly that he was given the name above all names.

In a similar way, we can look to the saints. They did not seek to make a name for themselves by performing works, but to give thanks to God with their words and actions. It is only because they did this that works could be done through them and, as a result, their names are remembered through the ages as great men and women.

In our own lives, we would do well to remember Jesus' words during the Last Supper:
I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me, you can do nothing. - John 15:5

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of this day. We praise you for your great works and thank you for the many gifts that you have bestowed upon us. Lord, help us to seek humility in our lives; to recall that all glory is due to you and not to us. Gently remind us that our works, and the works of great men and women, are not done by us, but through us. Guide us, that we might not be drawn away by false gods. We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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