The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips (Psalm 16:4).
What is meant exactly by the above verse is not entirely clear. Were the drink offerings to other gods literally of blood? Were they offerings that lead to the death of those who made them? Were they offered by those with blood on their hands? Were they offered in conjunction with bloodshed? Whatever it means precisely, this much is clear—the drink offerings made to false gods are a matter of death, offered by those who run after others, rather than to the Lord.
We live in what Pope John Paul II called a “culture of death.” The term raises similar questions: Does it refer to a culture whose common life leads to death? A culture that participates in death? A culture willing to inflict death in order to get what it wants? In Evangelium Vitae, the Pope said it this way:
This situation, with its lights and shadows, ought to make us all fully aware that we are facing an enormous and dramatic clash between good and evil, death and life, the “culture of death” and the “culture of life.” We find ourselves not only “faced with” but necessarily “in the midst of” this conflict: we are all involved and we all share in it, with the inescapable responsibility of choosing to be unconditionally pro-life.
Matters of life are, in the end, matters of worship. Psalm 16 is clear, mapping out clearly two roads: There are those who find their good in God (16:2) and those who follow another on the way of death (16:3). The reason that life is a matter of worship is because man is made as the image of God. If we love God, we will love His image, regardless of whether that image is young or old, strong or weak, entertaining or irritating. If we do not love God, we will not love His image, particularly those who cannot do us good. We will find our good in God, or we will seek our good in others, and pour out drink offerings of blood.
The solution to a culture of death is the same as it always has been—the Gospel of Christ Jesus, freely given to a sinful world, making known the path of life and fullness of joy (16:11).