Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jn 5:31-47 Do You Live For The Applause?

Thursday of the Fourth week of Lent
(Click here for readings)

Jesus said to the Jews:  "I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you...Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father:  the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope.  For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me."

Believing our elders.  Some of the best advice I ever received came from someone much older than me.  They said to me, "Alfonse, hang around people who are smarter than you." 

Their advice has not been hard for me to put into practice.  (I know plenty of people who are smarter than me!)  And though my ego may get bruised from time to time, my heart and mind tell me this is what is best for me.  It makes life more meaningful. 

Moses hung around a lot of smart people.  The smartest being God.  He also hung around a lot of depraved people.  The most depraved being his brothers and sisters; that is, the Chosen People of God. 

Today's first reading highlights one of their wilder moments.

The molten calf.   The Lord said to Moses, "Go down at one to your people...for they have become depraved.  They have turned...aside from the way I pointed out to them, making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it...crying out, 'This is your God, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'"  (cf. Ex. 32:7-14).

How could they do this?  What was wrong with them?  How on earth could they have exchanged their glory "for the image of a grass-eating bullock" (Ps. 106: 20).

Unfortunately, the People of God are attempting to equate the meaning of their life to a mere creature - a molten calf - made by man.

The Jewish people are a complicated people:  highly intelligent,  highly skilled...and very "stiffed-necked."  Unfortunately, we, the people of America, have many of their qualities.

Have I forgotten about God?  Let's admit it.  I'll be the first to admit it.  It's easy to forget about God.  In fact, it's just as easy to forget about God as it is to forget about the sun.  But different our world would be if we didn't have our little G2 dwarf main-sequence star.

How different would I be if I didn't have my Lord, my Jesus Christ?  Let's see...I know.  I wouldn't even attempt to try to love my enemies.  Never!  Absolutely not! Are you kidding?  No way! Give me a break. 

Sure I would forgive people:  maybe once, max twice, but seven times seventy times - always?  Forget it!  Never!  That's not fair. 

Yeah I would help others, occasionally, and only when I felt like it. And if I never felt like it?  Well, so what?  Call me a jerk?  What's wrong with that?  I don't owe anything to anyone.  Life is fair.  You get what you get.  Bad genes are bad genes.  Good genes?  Hey...survival of the fittest, man.  And if I ever ended up needing help, then I would go straight to those Christians who help people without asking any questions.

Hey!  No one can tell me what I have to do...except for the government, I guess.  And who made them God, anyways?   

Now if I did end up helping others, then you can be sure they would be just like me:  the people who think just like me and vote just like me.  I would never give a hand to my opponent.  I could care less about their so-called "conversion."

Crazy, isn't it? 

What's my molten calf? If you think it's bizarre to go goo-goo-ga-ga over a golden calf, then I hope you also think it's a little weird to adore money and/or power and/or fame and/or sex.  

Israel attempted to equate the meaning of life with a molten calf.  Do you attempt to equate the meaning of life with something similar to that?  For example, your children, career, some worthy cause, a blog, etc...

What makes life "the ultimate" if it has no ultimate meaning? 

Jesus said to his critics:  "I do not accept human praise."  Wow!  This is incredible.  The Lord doesn't live for the applause!!! 

He cures because people are sick.  He forgives because people are hurting.  But if that were it, then it wouldn't be much, for people get sick and die and fall to temptation over and over again. 

No!  The ultimate reason why Jesus did what He did was because it was the Will of the Father, and the Will of the Father is that we love one another.  Even those who do not love us.    

Christ didn't die for us so that He could win the "The Most Sacrificial Man Ever" Award for two thousand years straight.  He lived and died for us because He loves us; that is, Our Father Loves us. 

His sacrifice makes all "the ultimate" sacrifices worth giving.

1 comment:

  1. I have a few theories about the golden calf. I agree, it is strange that the Hebrews would forsake a spiritual god who has proven Himself time and again over the years.

    Here's my first theory: the Ancient cultures did not use formal currency, but instead livestock, especially among the pastoral Hebrews, they had a reverence for the bull that supplied so many necessities. Besides its immediate value as food, clothing, and tools (with the bones), it served as a trading commodity as well. Native American tribes, and certain Hindu sects, had a similar reverence for cows for similar reasons--at least from I can tell.

    My second theory: the cultures around the Hebrews worshiped gods resembling cows, and these cultures were way more successful by most material standards. If the Babylonians could come so far worshiping a cow, perhaps their God was better than the one true God leading his people through the wilderness, after allowing them to suffer as slaves.

    My third theory, which matches your meditation somewhat: they let their baser instincts get the better of them and commemorated the occasion with a golden calf. What better symbol of physical pleasure, material prosperity, and physical strength could their be than some bovine figure encased in gold? The other cultures around them let loose and gave themselves a symbol to rally around to sin freely. This calf could serve as the centerpiece for their fertility parties and human sacrifices.

    The temptation for idolatry is always there. When the authorities create a spiritual vacuum, through pride and ignorance, something will fill that vacuum, usually something abhorrent and degenerative. Imagine the filthy content people consume on their screens by the day because they've left God behind. They needed Moses, and we need Jesus, both of whom led their people to God the Father.


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