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Worship Your Lord, Your God

By Fr. Saji Ellickal M.C.B.S.

Worship Your Lord your God (Deuteronomy 6:13), is part of the First Commandment and Jesus stresses the importance of this command in the context of His temptation from Devil in the wilderness, after Jesus fasted for forty days and nights. When Jesus was in a precarious situation after the long fasting, the Tempter finds the opportune time to tempt the Lord. But Jesus had the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide him and thus Jesus overcame the temptations of the Devil. All the three temptations of Jesus deal with the different human cravings for power and wealth comprising three domains of human life, that is, physical, material and spiritual. Jesus, in fact, makes it clear for every reader to make the right decision at the right time taking in to consideration what is important for one’s spiritual life. That is where one must know the real meaning of one’s life, that is, God comes first, and He takes precedence over all these human cravings. Worship God alone means God should be the center of our life, our whole being and everything else, especially that the material and mundane realities cannot take the place of God. Therefore, true worship is the priority we place on who God is in our lives and where God is on our list of priorities. True worship is a matter of the heart expressed through a lifestyle of holiness. Thus, if your lifestyle does not express the beauty of holiness through an extravagant or exaggerated love for God, and you do not live in extreme or excessive submission to God, then I invite you to make worship a non-negotiable priority in your life.

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We worship God because he is God. Period. Our extravagant love and extreme submission to the Holy One flows out of the reality that God loved us first. It is highly appropriate to thank God for all the things he has done for us. However, true worship is shallow if it is solely an acknowledgement of God’s wealth. Psalm 96:5-6 says, “For all the gods of the nations all do nothing, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and power go before him; power and grandeur are in his holy place.” In other words, our worship must be toward the one who is worthy simply because of his identity as the Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent One, and not just because God is wealthy and able to meet our needs and answer our prayers. We must focus our practice of worship on the worthiness of God and not his wealthiness.

How do we as Catholics express this Worship God? This would be the next question that one may ask. As God becomes the center of our life and being and every material thing, becomes secondary, we truly realize the real purpose of our life. This fact is really and truly exemplified in the life of Jesus, who emptied himself and took the human form. The whole life of Jesus, His preaching and teaching, His miracles and actions reveal that human life is complete and fulfilled through the most important choice we make for God. Love of God is expressed through the love of our neighbor and that is where Compassion becomes the basic feeling of the worshipper. That is why Jesus gave His own life for the salvation of the world. The ultimate sacrifice Jesus makes on the cross, the outstretched hands proclaim to the world that everything that is worldly must be left behind and look upward as the pointed part of the cross. On the cross we see the total emptiness and the apparent failure. That is the fulfillment of what Jesus said the night before at the Last Supper to his 12 Apostles, “this is my body broken for you, and blood shed for you”. The ultimate sacrifice and death of Our Lord on the cross reversed the ancient curse of damnation. This points right to the Holy Eucharist or the Holy Mass that we celebrate on the Holy Altar every day. Worshipping God, therefore, is to live and become the Holy Eucharist. Active and full participation in the Holy Mass and a life rooted in this great sacrament makes our Worship real and meaningful. As Jesus breaks Himself and sheds His blood for the atonement of our sins, we too are called to sacramentally break and shed ourselves for others and for ourselves, that is, to lead our lives unselfishly and serve others. This is what every Catholic should try to do and most specifically, the ordained ministers, the priests.

“The Lord, Your God shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” Mt. 4:10b

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