Collect of the Day:
Lord, look with favour on our morning prayers.
Brighten the inmost places of our hearts with your love so that no dark desires can hide there:
heal us with the light of your heavenly grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
First Reading: 2 Thessalonians 2:1 – 17
|To turn now, brothers, to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we shall all be gathered round him: please do not get excited too soon or alarmed by any prediction or rumour or any letter claiming to come from us, implying that the Day of the Lord has already arrived. Never let anyone deceive you in this way.
It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place and the Rebel, the Lost One, has appeared. Through the Good News that we brought he called you to this so that you should share the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. May our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who has given us his love and, through his grace, such inexhaustible comfort and such sure hope, comfort you and strengthen you in everything good that you do or say.
The Gospel: Matthew 23:23 – 26
Jesus said, ‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who pay your tithe of mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the Law – justice, mercy, good faith! These you should have practised, without neglecting the others. You blind guides! Straining out gnats and swallowing camels!
‘Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who clean the outside of cup and dish and leave the inside full of extortion and intemperance. Blind Pharisee! Clean the inside of cup and dish first so that the outside may become clean as well.’
In todays Gospel we see that Jesus chides the Scribes and the Pharisees for putting ritual first, before the practice of justice, mercy and good faith. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the rules and regulations in regards to ritual that it moves us away from the first principle of our faith which is: ‘To love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbour as ourselves.’
A case in point is in my home town there is a Church that belongs to one of the larger Christian Denominations it reaches up to 700 people a week, is big on Social Justice, welcomes all to their Eucharist without question, and is lead by a Priest who is a true Pastor to his people. You would think this would be a good thing, but because this Parish is a little free when interpreting the “Ritual” it is threatened with closure.
Who do you think are the “Blind Guides” here, the Priest who gives all to ensure Justice and Mercy to all who enter his gates or the dogmatic bureaucrats who run the Diocese? Again food for thought.
Monsignor Ian Adrian+