Judges 2 : 11 - 19, Matt 19 : 16 - 22. Last Friday's gospel spoke about the commandment against marital infidelity and divorce which made the apostles to make a preference for celibacy from an escapist point of view only to be corrected by Christ's dossier on the greater sacrifice expected even of celibates. In today's gospel, will look at another aspect of infidelity - religious infidelity and its consequences. According to Fr Luke Eze in his reflections on today's readings in the Shepherd Monthly Bulletin of the Catholic Diocese of Nsukka, 'Marital infidelity has to do with a married man giving his heart to another woman apart from his wife or vice versa. Religious infidelity has to do with a Christian giving his heart to another god apart from his God'.
The tragedy of the young man is also our own tragedy of idolatry - preferring something else to someone. As the Isrealites left the God who saved them to worship idols, so do we leave the worship of God to the worship of something else - it may be wealth or wealthy people, women or sexual pleasures, alcohol or drugs, etc. The young man was a legalist who was more interested in what not to do (rules) than a helper or reformer who is more interested in what to do for God. He actually asked the wrong question : 'What must I do'... instead of 'What must I be....?' The answer Jesus gave him is that he must be detached from earthly possessions and be totally dependent on God for everything if he wants to be perfect. The young man went away sorrowful for he loved possessions. The fact is that what you worship is what you acknowledge as your ultimate source of happiness and what you fear is what you acknowledge as your greatest source of dread. Many Christians go to Church today but the real fear they have is for the dangerous idols and deities their forefathers worshipped, thus pushing God to the background. This is the greatest problem I have noticed in my present Parish, Iheaka in Enugu State and other places I have worked as a priest. The consequence is that God abandons us to remain slaves to these idols and deities (Lolo Uhere, Iyiakpalu, Onyenwealu, Ezenokpo, etc) and we remain vulnerable to our enemies as the Isrealites were. If we say we are Christians, let us worship and fear God not these powerless idols and deities that we have fashioned for ourselves. May God bless you today!