In today’s first reading from Acts, Paul and Barnabas heal a man crippled from birth. This miracle caters quite a stir and the people are understandably filled with joy. This man could now freely walk, no longer dependent upon others for assistance. Walking is a beautiful metaphor for the spiritual life, for we “walk in the spirit” on this journey of faith. “Walking” is symbolic of moving forward in faith, deepening our love for God and each other.
But what is the response of the people to the miracle worked through paul and barnabas? They want to offer THEM sacrifice, as if they were gods!!! Some things never change . In our day, we tend to “worship” celebrities, the sports star, the actor, the rock star. People who dazzle us with true gifts and talents can cause us to give them the glory that only belongs to God. We even listen to our celebrities, being influenced by how they live, their values, how they vote.
When I drive out to Galena to visit a monastery, I pass by along the highway a huge barn that has the following painted on its roof in bold, fading white letters: TO GOD BE THE GLORY. I actually pulled over along the highway to get a photo of this roof and its message that has greeted drivers for decades. The message is very clear: only give glory to God!!! For everything!!! Paul and barnabas made this crystal clear to the people by reminding them that God made them and all of creation. Yes, and God showers down rain and snow on EVERYONE, including the gentiles!!
May we never elevate another human being to a godly like status. May we never put anyone on a pedestal, no matter how talented and powerful they are. The higher that pedestal the harder the fall from Grace. When we give glory to another person or thing, we are bound to be disappointed. Only giving God the glory fills us with joy and our lame spirits are free to “dance” with this glorious God!!