I remember hearing a sermon years ago and the priest quoted from today’s first reading;’ I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, you shall no other gods before me.’ He said ‘you shall have no other gods before me’ is the probably the commandment we break more than any other. When we stop to think about it he was telling the truth.
During this season of reflection, this season when we are asked to look more deeply into the way we live our lives, the way we treat other people, the way we use the resources of planet earth, the quality of our life styles and the quality of our relationships with family and friends and with God. Reflecting on these things we may have to admit we do have our own idols to which we bow down.
Maybe our idol is self-concern. We can get so caught up with concerns about our health, our jobs our investments, our relationships that we fail to see or even care about the needs of those around us. We see nobody but ourselves. We may feel ‘I have enough problems of my own without worrying about others. Pope Francis calls this idol ‘global indifference’. We couldn’t care less about the refugees of the world, the hungry, the homeless, the oppressed men, women and children that look out at us every evening on the news of the world programs. Maybe we’ve just grown weary of seeing their suffering and change channels.
Consumerism could be our idol in the sense that we accumulate more than we need – the shop til you drop mentality. We get suckered into the mantra ‘I must have the latest, the new and improved gadget. Our clothe closets are filled with clothes we haven’t used in years, clothing and shoes that could be worn by other people. Self-indulgence may be our idol because we over eat; drink too much, not just alcohol but anything to which we may become addicted. May our idol is power or authority over other people. Who is the ‘boss’ in the home? Who has the power in your work place? If it is me, do I abuse my power, do I lord it over other people. If I have a powerful personality do I use it to intimidate others or manipulate others? Have we allowed technology to become our idol? How much time do we spend on the internet, on web sites, on cell phones, on texting?
There are a few more weeks left in Lent. Maybe we could use them to take another look at this first commandment and wonder about, search out and destroy the idol before whom we’ve allowed ourselves to bow.