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A Reading from the book of 1 Kings 11:4:13

When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God, as the heart of his father David had been. By adoring Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites, Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not follow him unreservedly as his father David had done. Solomon then built a high place to Chemosh, the idol of Moab, and to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites, on the hill opposite Jerusalem. He did the same for all his foreign wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice (for though the LORD had forbidden him this very act of following strange gods, Solomon had not obeyed him).

So the LORD said to Solomon: “Since this is what you want, and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I enjoined on you, I will deprive you of the kingdom and give it to your servant. I will not do this during your lifetime, however, for the sake of your father David; it is your son whom I will deprive. Nor will I take away the whole kingdom. I will leave your son one tribe for the sake of my servant David and of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

REFLECTION: "When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods..."

What comes to our minds when we hear "strange gods"?

Maybe ancient people sacrificing to an animal shaped statue?

Are there "strange gods" in our midst?

I think so.

The "strange gods" of the 21st century are those agents that tell us What to use to look rich and popular: smart phones.

They tell us what to Want via: Social Media Influencers, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

The How to find those things: via search engines like Google.

And last but not least, When and Where to obtain it: Amazon, Ulta, etc.

Not even as a joke, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and iPhone have been called the four horseman by some financial analysts from the United States. They have changed world economies, personal attitudes and behaviors of our civilization, but not necessarily for the best. Narcissism and depression are rampant, especially among young people.

Have you seen videos of screenagers when parents take their smart phones away? The meltdown they go through?

Have you tried to give up your smart phone for a few days? Maybe for a few hours when you are not working or expecting "an important text"?

Lent is just around the corner. Only 13 days away. Maybe this year instead of fasting from chocolates and ice cream, we could fast from social media a little: Set our phones into "Do not disturb" mode when we are driving. Instead of trying to fall asleep watching videos on YouTube, read an old fashion paper book. Even better, when we go to bed, leave the phone in a different room.

Let's set an example for our children, so they don't end up worshiping "strange gods".

PAPA Foundation
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