GqOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings) DATE: 28TH JULY 2017
GqOD’S WORD FOR THE DAY (based on Catholic Liturgical Readings)
DATE: 28TH JULY 2017
FRIDAY OF THE SIXTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
FIRST READING: Exodus 20:1-17
PSALM: Psalm 19:8-11
GOSPEL: Matthew 13:18-23
THEME: I AM A JEALOUS GOD
One of the meanings of the word “jealous”, according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, is “feeling or showing resentment of somebody’s advantages, achievements etc.” For example, a story is told of two bitter rivals at a workplace. They would always taunt each other whenever any of them got promoted, purchased a new car or achieved something great. One day an angel of the Lord appeared to one of them and said, “I am willing to give you whatever you request for. If you want to be rich, I will make you very rich. If you want to be healthy and have long life, I will make you healthy and give you long life. However, whatever you ask for, know that I will give twice as much to the colleague of yours.” She thought about it for sometime and then said to the angel, “Alright, strike me blind in one eye.”
The above kind of jealousy is oriented towards evil (cf. Gen. 37:11, Prov. 27:4, James 3:14, 16) and certainly, it is not the kind of jealousy attributed to God in the First Reading.
The Israelites had left Egypt and were now in the wilderness of Sinai, preparing themselves to take possession of the land of Canaan. Canaan was a country of “many gods”. The inhabitants of Canaan made a god out of almost anything. The imminent danger for the Israelites was the temptation to succumb to the existing religious system in that country. That would mean losing their firm relationship with the God who had delivered them from slavery and who was unfolding his divine plan for their good. Choosing other gods would mean falling back into slavery, i.e. falling back into the very thing from which God had delivered them.
Therefore, the jealousy of God within the context of the First Reading is one of demanding from the Israelites an exclusive allegiance to Adonai in view of salvation. It is a protective kind of jealous love. God sees the danger and tells them that the only way to avoid falling into the pit is to remain faithful to him.
Like the Israelites, we too are surrounded by many “gods” in our world. Some have made a god out of money; others have made gods out of electrical gadgets. Some have made gods out of sex and others have carved gods out of their academic laurels.
Whenever we make a god and pay allegiance to it, we choose a dangerous path – a path that would lead us into slavery. God sees this and says to each one of us: “You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God” (Ex. 20:4-5).
PRAYER: Eternal Father, I thank you for your countless blessings in my life. Forgive me for the moments I turned my back towards you and worshipped the gifts instead of you the Giver. I resolve in my heart today to worship and serve you alone through Christ my Lord. Amen
Andrews Obeng, svd
DIVINE WORD MISSIONARIES
BIBLICAL PASTORAL MINISTRY
” May the darkness of sin and the night of unbelief vanish before the light of the Word and the Spirit of grace. And may the heart of Jesus live in the hearts of all people” ( St Arnold Janssen).