August 21, 2007
Memorial of Saint Pius X, pope
Today's Gospel got me in trouble a few years back. At a morning mass this was the text that I preached on and a certain individual got very angry with me for using it. Why? Well, she is a very wealthy person and she thought that I was "condemning her for being rich". I did nothing of the sort and neither does Jesus in this text.
I believe that Jesus is giving us a warning about what I like to call "Lower Case gods". These "gods" are all of the things we place before our relationship with Christ. These "gods" can be anything, money, internet, cars, sports, houses, hobbies, etc... Anytime we sacrifice our relationship with Christ we are worshiping a "Lower Case god". It isn't just about money but rather our seemingly endless list of desires and agendas that put up obstacles between us and God.
I believe that this is an example of why we need to always keep the teachings of Jesus always with us. If the Gospels make us uncomfortable then we need to listen to that. Jesus' words are just as critical for us today as they were in the 1st century. Perhaps they are even more crucial today. We can devote ourselves to "Lower Case gods" without ever having to leave the house! We can tear down our relationship with Christ without leaving the comfort of our own homes and it isn't just about money.
I try to always remind myself that anytime I commit myself to some "thing" and that "thing" becomes more important than Jesus then I have sacrificed myself to one of the "Lower Case gods" and it tears down my soul.
I believe that this is what Jesus is warning us about in today's Gospel reading. Anything that takes the place of Jesus and serving one another as Christians is going to tear us down. Yes, it becomes hard to see Heaven when we are so committed to acquiring so many of those pesky "Lower Case gods".