Peace and grace to you!
This weekend we get a distinct contrast between the first reading and the Gospel. In the first reading, Moses delivers the statutes and decrees of the law which, the people are to carefully observe so that they may rest in right relationship with God. In the Gospel, Jesus criticizes those who rigidly focus on rules and exterior observances yet fail to understand that entering the covenant with God requires an interior personal commitment.
Examples of people who call themselves Christians but don’t act like one, abound. It’s everywhere.
But this is not a time for name calling, criticizing or passing judgment on others. Most of us are a little de-sensitized to all the harsh and critical words being exchanged on news interviews, TV shows, movies and media presentations. We wonder at the increasing lack of civility being displayed and where it’s all going.
Christianity is about belief and practice! Real, authentic religion is not a mere external observance of rules for show and it is not just a matter of opinion or politics. Words and opinions are important but empty words and empty ritual observances are the basic actions of the hypocrite. The authentic covenant relationship consists of a concrete connection between external observance, words and actions. Authentic observance and actions flow from the heart as the result of a personal connection with God and an internalization of divine teaching. This is what makes a living faith a daily journey with an intentional effort toward conversion of heart and mind. Remember the gift of the Eucharist, its from Jesus’ Sacred Heart! He calls us to conversion.
So what should we do? What can we do?
Instead of falling under the influence of wide-spread disrespect and dishonesty, we can consciously commit ourselves to being doers of the word. That means putting our faith into practice wherever we are and in whatever we are doing. We owe a debt to God, we respond by humble service to God in all situations. It requires us to be mindful that God is always present.
God sees into the heart of every person and knows the intent. We all need God’s grace to be true disciples. We are called to help each other along the way and we do this by our personal efforts to be authentic! May God bless you always! +++ Fr. Peter