by Fr. Tommy Lane
False gods. Everyone has them, every culture has them. The royal palace in our reading from Daniel today had many false gods,
“When the gold and silver vessels taken from the house of God in Jerusalem had been brought in, and while the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers were drinking wine from them, they praised their gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.” (Dan 5:3-4)
False gods do not bring peace. Sin has its own consequences.
“When the king saw the wrist and hand that wrote, his face blanched; his thoughts terrified him, his hip joints shook, and his knees knocked.” (Dan 5:5-6)
What led the king to this sorrowful state? Alcohol.
“Under the influence of the wine, he ordered the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar, his father, had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, to be brought in so that the king, his lords, his wives and his entertainers might drink from them.” (Dan 5:2)
We usually do not decide to commit a sin but something leads us along and entices us to commit sin and makes sin attractive. For a moment the consequences of sin are hidden from us and we see only the fun in drinking out of the gold and silver vessels. But to serve God with an undivided heart we need to know what are the gold and silver vessels of sin that tempt us and also what are the occasions that prompt us to lower our guard causing us to end up fetching the gold and silver vessels. Knowledge of God and knowledge of self go hand in hand. What is your core wound? How does it affect your relationship with God?
In our Gospel Jesus speaks about persecution for his followers from various quarters. Western culture promoting the gold and silver vessels of sin is a persecution of sorts for those striving to follow Jesus. Sin is glamorized and we would be forgiven for thinking sometimes that some hate us because of the name of Jesus, as we heard in our Gospel (Luke 21:12). But Jesus promised, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:19) We secure our lives when we resist temptation and do not give way to false gods.
Suffering is inevitable. Giving into sin leads to suffering, and knees knocking together in fear. Not giving into sin leads to suffering being inflicted by those who are challenged by the Christian lifestyle but that is a fruitful suffering because it leads to life. Suffering is inevitable but we get to choose how we suffer. Suffering while witnessing to Jesus or overcoming temptation is a suffering that leads to life. Jesus said, “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:19)
Copyright © Fr. Tommy Lane 2013