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Friday of the Third Week of Lent – March 8, 2024

Bishop’s Reflections

March 8, 2024

Every day of Lent, Bishop Edward Malesic writes a Scripture reflection for the faithful. Follow the bishop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click HERE for the readings.

Friday of the Third Week of Lent – March 8, 2024

One of the greatest problems for Old Testament Israel was that it was surrounded by pagan countries that worshipped idols. When the people of Israel mixed with the people of these foreign lands, they often took up their worship of false gods that we often made out of pottery or stone.

In the Book of Hosea, the first reading for today’s reflection, God is asking for a return of His people to right worship and living. He wants them to say no more “Our god,” to the work of their hands.

I know that some people accuse faithful Catholics of idolatry when they see us praying before a statue of Mary or kneeling before an image of Jesus. Of course, we know that we are not worshipping the images made out of marble, wood or plastic. We are allowing the artist’s physical rendering of a holy person to bring our attention to the reality of that saint so we can ask for his or her intercession in prayer or we are adoring Jesus who is brought to mind through an image or statue of him. But we are not worshipping their representations as “our god.”

Nevertheless, we do have “idols” that we pay way more attention to than we should; they almost become objects of our adoration: our cars, our homes, our money, our looks. All of these “works of our hands” can distract us from our need to worship God above everything else and love our neighbors as ourselves.

Take some time to reflect on the idols in your life, those things that become so important to you that you almost worship them and believe that they are the source of your happiness. And then read the Gospel again in its simplicity. To be close to the Kingdom of God requires that God is our first love, the only object of our worship. When we do that, we will also want to take care of one another – because humans have been made in His image.

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