SATURDAY: Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Fidelity to God, not Man
Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus Epiphanes, the Cesar(s) of the past are reincarnating. They are assuming new personas; their ideologies and philosophies are camouflaged, misleading and destructive to the human soul. Their agenda and goals are the same – reject God; deify men and women, and force others to worship them in their pursuit of power and fantasy. History has taught us these men and women were dismal failures. They were powerless and were incapable of recreating the world nor were they able to guarantee humankind liberation and redemption as God has demonstrated in the history of salvation. History is replete with examples that people who behave and think likewise end up being despots and the nations become colonies of slaves. I envisage we are quickly heading in this direction.
Today, Joshua reignites this discourse for our enlightenment. Just as he challenged believers of his time to discern the truth, and avoid falling victim to the parade of false gods, he is encouraging believers today to be vigilant and diligent in faith and in their search for salvation. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is spirit, he sets us free (Jn.8:36; 2Cor.3:17). At all times, God keeps calling us into complete freedom (Gal.5:13-14). With the life of his Son, God saved us from sin and death (Gal.1:4) Christ Jesus told us: the one who sins is a slave. Slaves of sin do not have a stronghold in the family of the living God (Jn.8:34-35). In other words, those who follow other gods are slaves; they are doomed to self-destruct (Deut.6:14; Ps.16:4). Only God can guarantee humankind everlasting freedom (Gal.5:13).
Humankind is never free as long as they are devotees of people who make themselves demigods. Those who follow them become converts to slavery, hatred, evil and sin. Instructed by the ideologies and philosophies of their human or esoteric masters, depravity awaits those who follow their teachings (Ps.14:1). Paul refers to these demigods as the principalities, powers and rulers of the darkness of our time and the spiritual forces vying against the kingdom of God (Eph.6:12-18). They are seducing generation after generation into error with their fallacies. Some people gulp down their deceptions as truths – they are not. They are plain rhetoric of people’s self-importance who lack the humility to be submissive to the truth of the gospel.
Jesus for his part challenges his followers to behave differently. He begs us to adopt a childlike persona, let him lay his hands upon us and he will both transform us and transubstantiated into patterns of his own glorified body. In other words, he has already created us to be gods, a little less than himself (Ps.8:5; Ps.82:6; Jn.10:34). However, if we follow the gods of this world we are doomed to self-destruct and will lose our inheritance with God and with Christ.
What are Joshua and Christ calling us to do today? I think they are making an urgent appeal to the modern world now heading towards the precipice to turn back and put its complete trust in God. He will rescue us and save us.
My Lord and my God. I trust in you. Never permit to follow the demigods of our time. Make me a forever-loyal subject of your kingdom.