Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Will We Always Be There for God?

November 23, 2011

Wednesday of the Thirty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O'Sullivan

But the God in whose hand is your life breath and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify. By him were the wrist and hand sent, and the writing set down. “This is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, TEKEL, and PERES. These words mean: MENE, God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it; TEKEL, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5:23c-28)

Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” (Luke 21:12-19)


My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation. (Psalm 62:2)


God will always be there for us, but will we always be there for God?

Daniel, in our first reading today, in speaking to King Belshazzar, a successor of Nebuchadnezzar, says, “… the God in whose hand is your life breath and the whole course of your life, you did not glorify.” You partied, eating and drinking from the sacred vessels plundered from the Temple. You worshipped false gods. So, the writing which appeared on the wall during this drunken, debauched banquet is God’s message to you. God has taken your measure and found you wanting. You should have learned from the experiences of your predecessor, Nebuchadnezzar, that God is the ruler of all. Instead, your faithlessness will lead to the collapse of your kingdom. Clearly, Belshazzar is not there for God.

God will always be there for us, but will we always be there for God?

Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel reading are addressed to his contemporaries. They lived in a time and place where they would be severely persecuted for their belief in Christ. Many would be martyred. Some would see even their families turn against them. Jesus promises to give them the words to say in the face of their enemies. Even though they might suffer and die for their faith, Jesus says their lives will be secured. We can read in the Acts of the Apostles about some of the early Christians who were there for God and who gave up their lives for their faith.

God will always be there for us, but will we always be there for God?

Most of us reading this live in Northern Virginia, where there is no active persecution of Christians. But the question is still relevant, perhaps even more so than if we lived in a time or place where our faith practices would put us in danger. Persecution puts one’s faith to the test. Either we’re going to be there for God or we’re not. There’s no in-between.

But everything gets a little more wishy-washy in a secularized culture like ours. No one is going to persecute you for your beliefs, because no one cares what you believe about God or whether or not you even believe in God. We live in a 24/7 society. No matter what the hour or day, there’s always something to do – shop, manage your investments, watch TV, go out to eat – little of it of great importance in the eternal scheme of things. The pressure to get caught up in this whirlwind of activity is insidious. Our faith priorities can erode little by little. So, maybe it’s even more important for us to remind ourselves that God is always there for each of us and ask ourselves if we’re always there for God.


There are many places in the world today where Christians are persecuted for their faith – Iraq, other Islamic nations, the People’s Republic of China - just to mention a few. Pray today for perseverance for our brothers and sisters around the globe who suffer for their beliefs.

Pray, too, for those of us living in today’s secularized society, that we will be there for the God whose love for us and faithfulness to us are without measure.