Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 24
Friday in Third Week of Lent
“The antidote to idolatry”
A day past Lent’s halfway point, and what a beautiful prayer we find in today’s Hosea reading. “Take away all iniquity; accept that which is good, and we will render the fruit of our lips. Assyria shall not save us, and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’ to the work of our hands,” (Hos 14:2-3). It’s the prayer of those whose hearts are oriented towards God and away from sin. However not any sin, but specifically idolatry—“the work of our hands.” Although we don’t worship wood or stone statues today, we still worship “the work of our hands;” don’t we? Our careers, sex, entertainment, wealth—these are the idols of our age. So, in today’s Mark reading, Jesus reveals the antidote to idolatry. First, it’s to truly believe deep down in our hearts that the Lord our God is One (Mk 12:29). Or another way to translate it: that the Lord is God alone and there are no other gods. Nothing else can save us. Second, it’s to love our God with every fiber of our being (Mk 12:30). Why? Because God loves us with every fiber of his being, even dying on the Cross to save us! Loving him alone because he first loved us is the antidote to idolatry. Today, we are closer to Easter than we are to Ash Wednesday; we are closer to our salvation than our condemnation. So, as we journey through Lent, may we find ourselves blossoming like the lily, with shoots spread out. May we find our holiness growing the like the beauty of the olive tree, flourishing like the vine, with fragrance like Lebanon’s wine (Hos 14:4-7).
Grant us, O Lord our Strength, to have a true love of thy holy Name; that, trusting in thy grace, we may fear no earthly evil, nor fix our hearts on earthly goods, but may rejoice in thy full salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.