Wednesday, Week 6 of Easter: Do we identify false gods in our lives?
Firstly, we welcome on board several parishioners who have recently joined us here on Growing Faith by Blessed Sacrament. Since it’s launch it’s wonderful that this online community has grown to over 400 people. The original WhatsApp group reached capacity so we have opened a second group – which already has 48 members! There is always room for more, and we are aware that some parishioners are still not on board but we don’t have contact details so please spread the word and contact Dc Mike on 0823715547 for anyone to still be included.
Secondly, tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord so please make time to participate in one of the online Masses. As mentioned on Monday, the Cardinal will be saying Mass at 8.30am and you are encouraged to log in to www.aodlive.org.za and follow the prompts.
The first reading for today from the Acts of the apostles (see bottom of page for texts) finds Paul addressing the Greeks of Athens about their religious devotions, notably mentioning an altar inscribed: To An Unknown God. The text is significant enough to be worth quoting:
Being then God’s children, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead. Acts 17: 29-31 RSV
There is a great temptation for us these days to follow false gods, some of whom we do not even recognise as being gods. The current lockdown has perhaps given us a real opportunity to acknowledge these gods in our lives: wealth, status, sport, etc. are often given higher recognition than our religious practices. Paul tells us that we will be judged by righteousness, not by worldly possessions or achievements. This is a tough ask since we need to live in this world and are dependant on much in order to be providers as well. The critical question, therefore, is where Jesus, who gave his life for us, fits into our daily lives. He cannot be an appendage.
Let us reflect on this today as we continue this journey. One thing is certain, though: Jesus is always with us! Just look at the gospel for tomorrow.
God Bless. Stay safe. Dc Mike
Reading of the Day
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles ACTS 17:15, 22—18:1
After Paul’s escorts had taken him to Athens, they came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.
Then Paul stood up at the Areopagus and said: “You Athenians, I see that in every respect you are very religious. For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribed, ‘To an Unknown God.’ What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything. He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’ Since therefore we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the divinity is like an image fashioned from gold, silver, or stone by human art and imagination. God has overlooked the times of ignorance, but now he demands that all people everywhere repent because he has established a day on which he will ‘judge the world with justice’ through a man he has appointed, and he has provided confirmation for all by raising him from the dead.”
When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to scoff, but others said, “We should like to hear you on this some other time.” And so Paul left them. But some did join him, and became believers. Among them were Dionysius, a member of the Court of the Areopagus, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
After this he left Athens and went to Corinth.
Gospel of the Day
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”