The opening prayer tells us what to consider in our reflection on the readings: “the values that will bring us lasting joy in this changing world.” What are our values? What is important to us? To put it another way: Who or what is our god?
The Israelites were tempted to serve other gods, for they were in a new land occupied by the worshipers of idols. Joshua challenged them to serve only Yhwh, and they accepted the challenge: “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord for the service of other gods.”
Jesus challenged his followers to believe in the one, true God: “Does it shake your faith?” he asked them. Peter responds for the others, saying that they will not forsake Jesus, who has the words of eternal life.
Jesus challenges us also to remain faithful to the one God. There are many in the world who worship other gods: power, money, pleasure, comfort, security, self-interest. Our prayer is that “all these attractions of a changing world serve only to bring us the peace of your Kingdom which this world does not give.” We want to say with Joshua and his people: “We will serve the Lord.”
If certain forms of modern ‘imperialism’ were considered in the light of these moral criteria, we would see that hidden behind certain decisions, apparently inspired only by economics or politics, are real forms of idolatry: of money, ideology, class, technology.
Pope John Paul II,
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 1987: 37