Thursday, March 8, 2007

Who needs God when you have power!?

Second Week of Lent 2007: Thursday
Mass Readings
Jeremiah 17:5-10
Luke 16:19-31

I must admit to being troubled by today's readings. I am convicted by the words we read today. How often do I depend upon self and material things and forget all about God? Probably more often than I care to admit. Our readings today are a call to step outside of self and reflect on just how much faith we wrongly place in earthly things instead of God.

King Solomon's empire was glorious beyond belief. His kingdom is the stuff of legend. Solomon was wise and faithful to God and his kingdom grew. Yet at the height of his wealth and power, Solomon gave into the delusion that he was self sufficient and that all he needed was right at his fingertips. Slowly, his kingdom began to crumble and it began in his very own house. The "god of self" destroyed him.

Humanity has accomplished amazing things. Especially here in the U.S., we have enough money and power to make Solomon blush! We can do so much with just the simple flip of a switch or the writing of a check. We have become very, very dependent on self. Yet these "blessings" have required a price. I believe that we have become very obsessed with self and have in many ways forgotten about God. However, this is true of all of humanity. Today we humans can write a check or flip a switch and make problems disappear. Who needs God when you have all of that? That is the type of thinking that gets us in a lot of trouble.

Trouble. Amazing how when we make a mess out of things and our power and money have failed us, THEN we turn to God! God is often the hope of last resort. When all else fails, ask God. After we have created a mess, ask God to bail us out. I know I am guilty of doing this. Every time I think I am in control, I am given a wake up call when I mess something up. Sure enough, I turn to God and ask him to bail me out. Why didn't I just turn it over to God in the first place? Well, I'm human and I mess up. We all do. Fortunately God is forgiving and loves us beyond comprehension.

Jeremiah's proclamation and Jesus' parable of the rich man and the poor beggar Lazarus, call us to give up the delusion of self sufficiency. I was pondering the fact that we inscribe "In God We Trust" on money. A bold statement of faith is placed on a piece of paper or a piece of metal! I think that is very revealing of our belief that we humans can solve all problems. We place a statement of faith on an inanimate object. Curious. In God We Trust should be written on our hearts! Then we are to publicly profess and live our faith! We are called to seek the things of God's Kingdom and not merely the things of earth. Only the gifts of God are eternal. Power, authority, money, etc., are merely passing things. We must first seek God's Kingdom and place our trust in God. Otherwise, we can gain the whole world yet lose our very soul.

Let us pause and ask God to remove the selfish thought that we don't need him. Let us remember that we are created in God's own image and that we are given a share of the Heavenly Kingdom which is forever unlike the kingdom of earth. Let us ask God to help us to let go of "stuff" so that we can be free to receive the eternal gifts God freely offers. We don't have to wait until we are at the bottom to call upon God. May we all place our trust in God first.

God help us that we don't gain all the things of earth and lose our very soul. Please God, help us to see.