Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gospel Reflection

February 09, 2012
by V. Romeo A. Almeda
Sharing God’s Message to Me

First Reading:               1 Kings 11:4-13  
Psalm:                         Psalm 106: 3-4, 35-37, 40   
Gospel:                        Mark 7:24-30 
24 And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid. 25 But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoeni'cian by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, "Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 28 But she answered him, "Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs." 29 And he said to her, "For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter." 30 And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.

Have No Other God Before Me

8 He did the same for all his foreign wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their Gods. 9 The Lord, therefore, became angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice 10 (for though the Lord had forbidden him this very act of following strange Gods, Solomon had not obeyed him). 1 Kgs 11:8-10


There you go. The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord. Not for having many wives and concubines, although perhaps having too many of them was not right either. 700 wives and 300 concubines, none of our aging actors or ex-presidents can surpass that. But to be fair, concubinage was a common practice in biblical times. Hagar was the concubine of Abraham, with whom he fathered Ishmael. And God even protected both Hagar and Ishmael from the harsh desert when Abraham sent them away on Sarah's insistence. Polygamy was also common, as in the case of Elkanah having two wives: Penninah and Hannah (mother of Samuel). The point is that neither polygamy nor concubinage, taken in the context of biblical times, angered God. It was idolatry that angered God in this instance. 

Today idolatry takes many forms, and many, if not all, are centered on the self. Money is idolized by many, such that the more money we have the better. Money is not bad per se because we all need money to accomplish many things. But when money is the focus of our efforts, or the end that we seek, it leads us away from God. It leads us to materialism - for newer gadgets like cellphones, laptops to newer, bigger cars, and then bigger houses, all needing more money. It leads us to seek the vanity of honor - for a promotion to a higher rank, a higher title which receives more money. It leads us to the vanity of riches - so that we can buy Rolex oyster watch, that Louis Vitton handbag, that Bally pair of shoes, that Gucci tie and Hermes belt. Money for self, self for money. This is idolatry today.

LORD, let me have no other God but You, and my time consumed in You. Amen