“…and the servants of the king, Nebuchadnezzar, told him that there
were certain Jews who are province administrators that have paid no
attention to you; they will not serve your god or worship the golden statue
which you set up.”(Daniel 3:12)
                Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, walked
into the fiery furnace rather than to serve a statue they knew was not the one
true God but a golden idol. How many of us today would pass such a test?
How many of us today can even identify the numerous idols of our time that
the world beckons us to worship? Today’s idols are legion and none like
being ignored. Though many don’t see it as such, the false gods of the
modern era exercise enormous power over our thinking and practice. It is
precisely these idols, which are both open and stealthy concealed that cause
so much moral and social confusion in our comings and goings today.
                What are the golden idols of our time? The main three: power,
money and sex. But there are many others- the worship of self, health, talent,
material possessions, fame, human beauty, human knowledge, unbridled
pleasure-seeking, and the desire to mimic God in numerous ways.
                “Man is religious by nature: as much as he needs food to eat and
air to breathe, he needs a faith for living…but so long as he pursues this quest
for self divinity, relying on his own virtue, wisdom and piety, it will not be
God he finds but an IDOL-the self, or some aspect of the self, projected
objectified and WORSHIPED!”(William Herberg)
                Like Daniels three friends, we are called by the spirit of the world
to walk through the fire for our religious beliefs once again. Today’s world is
in a deep spiritual hole; the virus and consequence of sin. But the cure is not
to be found in the delusions of our own human whims. In a world that seeks
solutions in failed utopias, with all their imperfections and tragedy,
humanity’s relief from the sufferings we face can only be found in the truth
of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. False idols give us an
addictive hope that offers cheap shortcuts that bypass the difficult problems
of everyday life. The true God, one and triune, is not a god of this or that
people or time; an idol. God is not a material construction with unreal
power, and He certainly is not another human being or human attribute. We

should remind ourselves everyday: I am not God; food, drink, work and sleep
are not God; friendships are not God. One alone is God; the Creator and
Savior who has given us this brief life and a future life, which does not die;
who has given us family, food, clothing, shelter, and intelligence. We are His
children and Heirs to His eternal kingdom if we live correctly and serve love
and not hate.
              Jesus alone is God. Everything which is not God is illusory and
temporary. We need deeper sources of meaning to sustain our lives than
what the world has to offer. The grace and love of God fills us up while the
world empties us out. The world turns wants into needs to distract us from
the salvific plans God has for our souls.
                As Knights of Columbus, we give glory to the true God by aiding
our neighbors because charity in practice is true faith. Faith, to be true, must
be bold in action against all the things the world, the flesh and the devil puts
in our way to belittle it, oppose it, and demolish it. Unlike idol worship, we
don’t cast out Satan with Beelzebub. Faith is knowledge, which comes from
love, i.e., love of God and love of our fellow man. The stronger love is the
stronger faith is for love brings the one true God to be known to those who
do not know Him or know Him only in a lukewarm fashion.
                It is an illusion to believe the present-day enjoyment of material
things is superior to the long term goal of salvation. Let us remove from our
hearts and minds all the deceitful idols of the present world. Let us not raise
altars to gods that are not true. In the final analysis, God offers humanity just
two gates, which provide two ways to His kingdom: a gate that is wide and
one that is narrow and a way that is broad and one that is steep. There is no
third way!
Wendell Jeanpierre, Lecturer
July 2021