What is your idol?

Shun the cult of idols…
You cannot drink, at the same time,
from the cup of the Lord
and from the cup of demons.
1 Corinthians 10: 14, 21

 In the US when I discussed belief in God in classes or with groups of students, I would sometimes suggest that everyone, even atheists, believe in something. Thus the really important question is not “Do you believe in God?” Rather the critical question is “What God do you believe in? What God do you trust?”

Sometimes I believe that we Christians do not believe in the God of Jesus Christ, but we try to use God as a way to disguise our real beliefs. We say we believe in God, but we are atheists in practice.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I say?”
Luke 6: 46

Do we really trust a God who commands us to love our neighbors? Or do we trust in “gods of metal,” our weapons?

Do we really trust God who tells us not to worry about we are to eat, or drink? Or do we trust in “gods of gold and silver,” our savings?

Do we really trust a God who calls us to feed the hungry? Or do we hoard our grains, seeking higher prices?

Do we really believe in a God who identifies with the stranger and the migrant? Or do we seek more secure borders by building walls?

Do we really believe in a God who became human as a poor man and gives Himself to us in the vulnerability of bread and wine, His Body and Blood?

Do we believe in a God who loves all people? Or do we restrict out love to people of our own nation, class, race, or religion?

Do we believe in a God whose servant Paul told us to associate with the poor? Or do we seek the attention of the powerful and wealthy?

Do we believe in a God who created the heavens and the earth and made humans in His image and likeness? Or do we worship a god who is identified with my nation?

Maybe we should call to mind the words of St. John Chrysostom, whose feast is celebrated today:

If you are a Christian, no earthly city is yours. Concerning our true city, the builder and maker is God. Though we may gain possession of the whole world, we are nonetheless only strangers and sojourners. We are enrolled in Heaven — our citizenship is there. Let us not, after the manner of little children, despise things that are great and admire those which are of little account.

If you want to further explore this, I recommend the writings of the late Jesuit, John Kavanaugh, especially Following Christ in a Consumer Society: The Spirituality of Cultural Resistance: 25th anniversary edition (Orbis Books, 2006).



One response to “What is your idol?

  1. Thank you for the timely reminders, John. Mea Culpa!!!!
    I have Fr. Kavanaugh’s book and will refer to it once again.

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