"That woman, worn out with adultery!"

(Ezekiel 23.43)

When I was small,
I was told that long long ago
people had many many gods.
They would build statues,
enshrine them in temples,
incense them,
kneel before them,
ask them favors.
I remember thinking how strange this is!
How is it possible they do not realize these are bogus deities?

When I grew up, I realized that today we do the same thing!
Perhaps our gods are not made of stone, silver or wood.
Ours are more subtle, more hidden
But our deities are likewise taking the place of the one God.

What is 'a god' after all?
God is someone on whom one relies and trusts,
someone on whom one puts one's mind at rest,
the someone or something that is very important.
someone one works hard for to obtain.
One thinks that if one has this god,
one will be happy
this 'god' will free me from sadness and fills my empty heart.

Let us be more explicit.
Here is a whole list of 'modern' gods…
We have just the embarrassment of the choice!
Money, career, job, affection, a beautiful house,
politics, family, self esteem, apostolate…
Since day one,
our life was geared towards acquiring these things
at all costs.
Because we believe that these gods will save us.
We think money.
We dream of love.
We move violently for a job…
Let us be honest with ourselves:
Our lives are built on this stuff.
We worship them, not through words, but through actions!
We are ready to do anything to get more money,
to acquire that girl, that promotion, that job.

The problem with all these gods is one:
they are false gods.
False in the sense that they don't give us what they promise.
They promise us happiness and they make us swallow anti depressants.
They promise us freedom and bind our hands with chains.
They promise us life and they give us death.
They promise us heaven and they push us into hell.
Those who have any experience know that I am not exaggerating.

You could have two villas,
a bank account that is adequate for all your life,
a really lovely woman, children that respect you,
a job that is the envy of all your friends,
numerous influential acquaintances
and yet these do not enhanced your quality of life.

The problem is not outside us
- Jesus Christ reminds us constantly -
It is within you.

The Word of God is so liberating!
"The Lord our God is the only Lord:
love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your mind
with all your strength".

Sounds so simple
but really this statement goes against our whole education system.
We were never taught this!

But this is the only truth!
Do this and you will have life for ever!
Only God can give us what we have always desired
what we have always hoped for
what we really need.

It is not things that we lack
We lack Someone!

"News of this was brought to Jotham.
He went and stood on the top of Mount Garizim and shouted at the top of his voice:
Hear me, leaders of Shechem, so that God may also hear you..
One day the trees went out to anoint a king to rule them.
They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king!'
The olive tree replied, 'Must I forgo my oil which
gives honor to gods and men, to stand and sway over the trees?'
Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come and be our king!'
The fig tree replied, 'Must I forgo my sweetness
forgo my excellent fruit,
to go and sway over the trees?'
Then the trees all said to the thorn bush, 'You come and be our king!'
And the thorn bush replied to the trees, 'If you are anointing me in good faith
to be your king, come and shelter in my shade.
But, if not, fire will come out of the thorn bush
and devour the cedars of Lebanon'…"

(Judges 9, 7-11. 14-15)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.