Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34
Today’s scripture readings provide us with a compelling comparison between building a golden calf and building the Kingdom of God!
We all know the story from Exodus where Moses comes down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments and gets an unwelcome surprise when he finds his people partying around a golden calf. The people decided to build an idol for themselves; much easier to worship than a living God!
We also all know that we do the same thing in our own lives. We don’t use gold and make idols to worship but we do craft our own idols in other ways. We craft replacements for real relationships with unknown social media friends. We build ways to control what we can’t control in life using "ieverything". We construct shadows of meaning in our lives with various forms and attempts at generalized spirituality. We roll all these into the fire and often come out with our own version of a golden calf!
In today’s gospel Jesus shows us another way to build something which will live and last. Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a teensy-weensy mustard seed and to the impact of leaven in bread making; small items with a big bang effect. It reminds us of the example from physics regarding the hurricane forming impact of a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world and eventually creating a hurricane in another!
The Kingdom of God is built from everyday small thoughts, feelings and actions; a very human experience! Every time we compassionately connect with another human being, with nature or with any part of our daily existence, we are building the Kingdom of God. It’s really a simple choice. Do we prefer to build a golden calf, something we can control; or do we prefer to build the less flashy but more durable Kingdom of God? The choice is mine; and yours!
Terry McDevitt, Ph.D. is a member of our Passionist Family who volunteers at the Passionist Assisted Living Community in Louisville, Kentucky.