Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 5:1-8
The reality of our modern world is that many have relegated God to the background. The gospel is no more alive to many. The ‘self’ and all that will satisfy it – power, pleasure, and money dominate the lives of many Christians today. Unfortunately, many believers listen more to these drum beats, and fail to realize that in truth only God can satisfy man. The state of the world and the attitude of today’s believers are not different from the context under which St. Peter wrote today’s Epistle to both the young and old, Priest and Pastors alike. “I appeal to you to be shepherds of the flock that God gave you and take care of it willingly. Do your work not for mere pay, but from the real desire to serve.”(Verse 1, 2).
- First, as believers, you have a responsibility to watch over the people God has placed under your care; be careful to take care leading them to Christ through authentic teaching and counseling God wants you to watch against the deceptive spirit that has taken over today’s church – where the emphasis has shifted from soul winning to money making.
- Second, you need to watch against your own desires and the values that now rule you. Do you realize that your love for God has diminished? Your interest in prayer and studying of God’s word is almost gone? Come to think of it, your discussions with friends do not have any relationship with God anymore except to talk of how to satisfy the cravings of this world and your flesh.
No wonder St. Ignatius de Loyola said, “The more you converse with, and make friends of spiritual men, the greater will be your delight in God.” Do you not know that when your mind is far away from God, evil will take over you? The tactics of the devil have not change. The devil still uses what is good to deceive and what is beautiful to seduce. Does it not bother you that world leading nations are fighting for homosexuals and gays? To this extent, people are not ashamed to say they are gays and lesbians. People of the world now celebrate occult men and women? Even the church often approach such people for financial donations. The church will engage this people for financial support but will not make any attempt to preach to them. St. Gregory says, “No sacrifice can be more acceptable to God than labour with genuine zeal for the saving of souls”.
My dear friends in Christ, don’t allow anyone deceive you. The insanity in our world, the class irresponsibility and materialism, the greed and self centredness that have taken over the world suggest that you must be sober and vigilant. Romans 1:28-32, concludes our reflection thus, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God – haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” St. John Marie Vianney said, “The Saints lost sight of themselves, that they might see nothing but God and labour for him alone; they forgot all created objects in other to find only him. This is the way to reach heaven.”
- Thank God for his work in your life.
- Lord, make me conscious of myself.
- Pray against the spirit of deception.
- Pray for the grace to be fervent in prayers.
- Thank God for prayers answered.
Exercise: Share this reflection with someone today.
Memory verse: James 4:7