Readings for Friday February 18, 2011
First Reading: Genesis 11:1-19
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 33
Gospel: Mark 8:34-9:1
The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words. While the people were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.” They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.” (Gen. 11:1-4)
It seems as though the people of Babel were blessed with the gift of ingenuity when they started learning to make bricks and mortar. Unfortunately, there was one big issue with them building their city and the tower to the sky; they were doing it selfishly. The people said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves ..." The people had no desire of acknowledging God or of giving Him any glory for the gifts they had been given; no, these people only sought to do things their way and to make a name for themselves, instead of praising God.
Jesus warns us of this sort of selfish desire in today's gospel: "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?" Jesus doesn't say anything here about going out to make a name for yourself, He is speaking of self denial and of persevering through this world so that we can be with God in the next.
We all have a big choice to make in life; will we seek to make a name for ourselves, or to praise and acknowledge God? Either way we choose, there will be consequences to our actions. Just remember, that when we follow God and give Him the glory, then He leads us to heaven ... much better than the alternative.
Father above, we thank you for the gift of this day. Lord, help us to always acknowledge you and to give you the glory for all that we do. Lord, we are nothing without you, we thank you for all the blessings and gifts in our lives. Lord, we pray for all those in need of conversion and all those who are seeking peace in their lives, may they find it in you. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.