my rock, my fortress, my savior.
My God is the rock where I take refuge; *
my shield, my mighty help, my stronghold.
The Lord is worthy of all praise: *
when I call I am saved from my foes.
He repaid me because I was just *
and my hands were clean in his eyes.
You are loving with those who love you: *
you show yourself perfect with the perfect.
With the sincere you show yourself sincere, *
but the cunning you outdo in cunning.
For you save a humble people *
but humble the eyes that are proud.
You, O Lord, are my lamp, *
my God who lightens my darkness.
With you I can break through any barrier, *
with my God I can scale any wall.
Psalm 18 various verses
Today, I think, many folks have an entirely different idea of who or what their god is. In many cases, I'm not even sure that folks actually make a positive, conscious choice about even having a god. Many have just decided to play along with the contemporary philosophy of relativism, that there is no absolute truth, that truth is dependent upon the circumstances. Consequently, folks select differing things to be the center of their universe, e.g., money, power, influence, technology, sex, drugs, and the list goes on. Folks are so enamored with accumulating whatever it is, that they, by default, have selected their god - the thing that they actually worship more that all else. Much of it is based upon their own self-reference, self-interest, and self-gratification.
Our Catholic faith tells us that pursuing these "things of the world" is chasing after a false god. As the Psalmist indicates in today's selection, only the Lord, God (יהוה in the original Hebrew) is the true center of all things, How else could something be a rock, a fortress, worthy of all praise, a lamp? Of course, the clear assumption underlying this belief is that we humans are not the center of the universe; we accept that there is a "higher power", if you will, that is actually in charge of all creation, from the very beginning.
One cannot make the claim of the Psalmist without believing in the Supreme Love, the Great All Perfect Good Love of the Universe - the Creating God. Yet when does hold this belief, ones attitude toward the everyday world is entirely different. One looks on others as true brothers and sisters - part of a total family who are all in this enterprise together trying to make the world a better place to live, as opposed to those who are trying to grab all that they can for themselves.
I don't really know for sure, but I think that our society has made a good effort at the selfish way for the last 40 years. Don't you think that maybe, just maybe, it's time to try this other way? Not the false hope portrayed by so many television evangelists, but the true path outlined by Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Covenants. Accepting that concept, there really is an absolute truth, there is a yard stick against which we are all measured and that makes living this life much easier.
I think that much of what Pope Francis is trying to say to us, like Jesus, it to get us outside of ourselves and become concerned with others and especially those who are less fortunate. If we became more concerned with our responsibility to others instead of our own individual rights, we could realize this transformation. Help those who have little - at it will be really amazing what kind of treasure one gains. But it's not about the accumulation of treasure; that is a side benefit. It's about how we serve others (Matthew 25 again!!!). So, let's get down to the service thingy, huh?