A small gold reliquary was stolen from a Catholic church near Rome. The reason this robbery made international news was because it contained the blood of the late Pope John Paul II. It is thought that the blood may be on a small piece of fabric taken from the papal robe he was wearing while shot in an assassination attempt. This pope is due to be made a saint in May and some believe that the robbery was commissioned. Why would someone hire a robber to break into a church and steal the reliquary?
The robbery sounds like a plot from a novel or movie. Could it be that the person who wanted the reliquary believes there is supernatural power of some kind in that blood? Do they want to extract DNA from the sample? There are many speculations about the motive, but only the thieves could say.
While traveling in Israel I often saw people who assigned power to objects that were considered biblically important or sacred. We all want hope. We want to believe there are things we can do or have that will bring us luck, health or prosperity. Is that what the person believed about the Pope’s blood sample?
God never promised his people luck, he promised he would care for them. He promised to bless. What does God promise to bless and how can we take hope in those promises?
Psalm 31:19 says, “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.” To fear God means to live with reverent awe in the way you view God and relate to him. This Psalm promises that people who approach God with reverent awe are given abundant blessings. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “hallowed be thy name.” When we honor God our life is blessed and, according to the Psalm, other people see God’s blessing in our lives. Our job is to revere God and take refuge in God. Is your hope in God or is it in something less? I wonder if the person in possession of that reliquary understands that without God’s blessing, he only stole metal and stained fabric?
James, the half-brother of Jesus, taught that it isn’t just how we feel about God that matters; God blesses our actions as well. “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:25). The “perfect law that gives freedom” is the word of God fulfilled in Jesus’ life and gospel message. James said that it isn’t enough just to know that Jesus is our Lord; we need to live like Jesus is our Lord. God blesses the person who continues to make Jesus Lord of every day.
Rick Warren has written a great article on the blessings of God. He lists many more verses than I would have time for in this blog post. I hope you will enjoy reading what he wrote. One of the easiest ways to live a blessed life is simply to learn to live according to the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit. God wants to bless us so much that he gave Christians his own Spirit to guide our lives. “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord” (Psalm 89:15). The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God and he became present in your life when you became a Christian. What will you do and say today because the Holy Spirit has been your guide? God will bless you for doing what he leads you to do. The “perfect law gives freedom” but you were also given the freedom to choose whether or not to obey.
I feel sorry for someone who would steal a valuable relic from a church. How could they believe it could accomplish anything without God’s blessing? The relic doesn’t have power, God does – and so do we.
Take a moment to consider the attributes of God and thank him for being present in your life. Ask him to guide you today so that you can walk according to his will and his word. God will enjoy blessing your reverence and obedience.