The readings today show us what idolatry is. It is not just creating images as many accuse Catholics of doing. God gave Moses three criteria, in the First Reading:
- They have cast for themselves an image of a calf. God did forbid any images in the Ten Commandments, but later on, God told Moses to create, in fact, two images of cherubim on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant. Colossians 1:15 also tells us Jesus is the image of the invisible God. We read Scripture as a whole and when God seems to contradict himself, he has a reason for it. In this case, it is not just the creation of an image that God has forbidden, because he himself commanded two images be made and he made an image of himself in the Person of Jesus Christ.
- Have worshiped it. To worship is to call that image as God. It is to attribute the image power that is greater than God. Catholic teaching does not tell people to worship images because worship is for God alone. Just as images of our loved ones remind us of a snapshot in time of who they are, the images of saints and of Jesus remind us of what they did and what they represent. An image of Jesus does not mean that image has power. It shows an aspect of Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God.
- Sacrificed to it. To sacrifice something is to offer ourselves to it. It is to say, “I give my life to you (the image) and I will do what I can to please you”. It is absurd to say something like that to a statue made of stone or wood, because they do not hear. Catholics do not do that. We offer our lives to God through Jesus Christ.
Many have taken Scripture and intentionally or not, interpreted it incorrectly. Jesus said in the Gospel, You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. Those who claim that the Bible only is the truth have it wrong. Jesus tells the leaders they need to come to him for life! This is consistent with what he said: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus IS the Word of God. The Bible is the written word of God. It is special because this is how God choose to reveal himself to his people. BUT the fullness of revelation of God is in Jesus Christ. So it is incorrect to say that the Bible only is the truth because it runs counter to what Jesus said.
How does all these relate to the corona virus pandemic we have right now?
For one, people need to turn to Jesus for life. He is the only One who can save. There has been many calls to physically distance ourselves. The medical community and the frontliners give of themselves above and beyond what is asked of them. They are true heroes of our time.
Yet, we should not forget, the call to repentance, to worship the One True God, in the Person of Jesus Christ. He is the Only One who can save us in this epidemic and in our sins. As he said, Jesus is the only One who can give life, no one else.
While there is a consistent call to prayer, asking God to stop the virus. We must remember to worship God in Spirit and Truth. We cannot ask God for help as if he owes us something. God is God, we are not. God works the way he wants. He hears us when we call to him in trust. We cannot demand God to fix a problem, the way we want. We ask him to do what he wants, always, for the glory of his name.