To Acknowledge God is Our First Task
By Bishop David J. Malloy
“I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.” (see Ex 20:2-3). 
From our study of the catechism in our earliest years, we recognize that this is the first of the Ten Commandments.
It is at the top of the list of the commandments that Moses brought down to the Israelites from Mount Sinai for a very good reason. The human race, wounded by original sin, then and now, lost its original and deep connection with the God who created us. As a result, the ability to recognize the one true God and to see in Him the fulfillment of all that we have been made for is weakened.
That scene described in the Book of Exodus happened over 3,000 years ago. But the fundamental reality expressed by the First Commandment presents a very real challenge to modern society.
To say “I am the Lord your God” is, first, to tell us that God does indeed exist. Our society is increasingly based in the assumption that there is no God. Instead, we rely on human ingenuity, on science, and on an expansion of the state to try and create a better world.
However, the denial of the author of all reality, of the one who made us, will not fail to have its consequences. 
From God flows truth and moral clarity. He is the source of faith, hope and love. We need only read human history to see how a failure to be led by God leads to violence and death, the imposition of the strong over the weak and a general hopelessness in thinking this life is all there is.
The First Commandment also tells us that there is only one True God. It is therefore not true that all gods are really the same. Or that some are saved by Jesus, others by their own gods.
There are of course other false gods in today’s world. Perhaps the most obvious competing “god” is money and the acquisition of worldly goods. This is a temptation in every age because it allows us to trust the true God less to take care our daily needs. If one has wealth, there is a sense that suffering can be held at bay. We then don’t need God as much to give us our daily bread.
To follow the true God in our materialistic age we need to ask ourselves, am I detached from wealth and its pursuit? Am I sharing with the poor, donating to the Church and to charity? Is my heart truly focused on God more than things of this world?
Another “god” prominent in our age is power. Think of the increasing harshness and destructiveness of our modern politics fueled as it is, not by a search for the common good but by the quest for power.
What about the “god” of pleasure? We live in a time where we are constantly urged to choose between God and the sexual revolution. The decline in family life, the large number of people who suffer from loneliness, the loss of faith by so many, especially our young people, is the result of unnatural honoring of this “god” out of its rightful place in our lives and our world.
To acknowledge the one true God is our first task in this world. It is the message and the guidance given to us through our Catholic faith. Following that one true God and witnessing to Jesus Christ will require sacrifice and prayer. But it leads to human fulfillment and happiness, in this world and in the life to come.
To love the one true God is not simply a command. It is the roadmap to our home that awaits us.