In the Old Testament today we see how Israel returned to the Lord after a time of service to a foreign idol. Repeatedly through the Old Testament Israel is called back to the Lord after many detours of service to foreign idols. In the Sermon on the Mount in today’s Gospel, Jesus is very clear that our life should be centered on God – not on idols or earthly treasures. Many times, we think we are modern people and no longer have idols. But the truth is that our modern life is full of idols that take us away from the Lord. Most of our modern idols are not carved of gold. Many come disguised as something good for us. Personal power, ego, self-centeredness, selfishness, work, studies, money, material goods, sex, emotional love, control, fame, health, long life, success, physical beauty, feeling good, and whatever whim is currently in style have become our modern idols. We don’t give them the same names as in the Old or New Testament – but they are idols. Jesus always goes to the heart of the matter, the heart of each one of us. If we are filled with concerns and worries about obtaining all these things there will be no place for God in our lives. As Jesus says today, our eyes will not be able to see the Lord’s action in our lives. That is a deep darkness that leads to despair and distancing from the Lord.
The Sermon on the Mount calls us to make a radical change. To reorient our lives towards the Lord by prioritizing Gospel values – service to others, self-sacrifice, love in the dimension of the Cross, peace, utter confidence in the Lord’s action in our lives, justice.