Saturday after Epiphany
First Letter of Saint John 5:14-21; Psalm 149: 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9 and John 3:22-30
“Children, be on your guard against idols.” “He must increase while I decrease.” What incredibly difficult challenges the scriptures pose for us with these two simple phrases!
We all have idols—the trick is in recognizing and admitting it. Idols are not just things that we clearly recognize as bad. Good people, such as you and I, not just “those” people, have idols. Believers, as well as non-believers, can have idols. Personally, I have difficulty saying “no” to seemingly good requests. I think when my saying “yes” to otherwise legitimate requests interfere with my fundamental relationship with God. I am then worshiping an idol. The people who receive my service are grateful, and I have done a good deed. However, I may have placed the deed, the act, ahead of what God is calling me to do at this time in my vocation.
Our good John the Baptist realizes his place in life. He knows he is not the Messiah. He also knows that whatever fame and following he has achieved must give way to the Messiah. John has a proper sense of self. The challenge for us is to recognize our sense of self and to act on it. We must decrease our sense of self-importance and instead knowingly place ourselves in God’s hands. We must recognize that we are the lesser, and God is the greater.
Today’s two scripture passages renew the call for balance in our life. We need to know who we are. We need to give ourselves over to God’s will. We need to avoid letting someone or something, regardless of how good they appear, become too powerful in our lives.
Question of the Day: How will you ask God for the clarity of discernment, the vision to recognize idols, and strength to lessen yourself in serving God’s greater glory?
Prayer: “The Lord takes delight in His people.” (Psalm 149)