|Fr. John Paul|
In their sinfulness, the Jews had forgotten to keep the Sabbath sacred and devoted to God. They were adding “infidelity to infidelity.”
God "early and often" sent prophets to the Jews to warn them that they needed to turn their hearts back to God or face the consequences, but they would not listen.
Whenever we turn away from God in our individual lives, things do not go right. Whenever societies turn away from the ways of God, the society experiences unfortunate repercussions. Yet, what angers our Lord the most is when the members of His Church do not follow His ways. To whom much is given, much will be expected. (Luke 12:48)
The Jews and their leaders were “practicing all the abominations of the nations and polluting the LORD’s temple which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.” (2Chron 36:14)
So we are reminded that the sins of the world and society at large are one thing, but what angers the Lord most is when we allow His temple to become polluted.
As Catholics, it is essential that we strive to keep our Lord’s Church and our hearts holy. This is why our Church emphasizes the importance of receiving Communion worthily. When we enter our Lord’s Church, we should have a spirit of reverence. We should enter God’s house knowing that our Lord is present in the tabernacle!
In last week’s Gospel (John 2:13-25), we heard the story of the cleansing of the temple. Our Lord Jesus went into the temple with whips because there were those exchanging necessary coin at a profit in His Father’s house, causing an impediment to worship for the people.
So we can see that Our Lord Jesus clearly understood the importance of keeping his Father’s house free from the ways of the world.
While today’s first reading relates the struggles that the Jewish people encountered because they had abandoned God, this reading also gives us hope.
Then God allowed the Jewish people to return to Jerusalem. And the temple of God and temple worship would be restored.
Yet, this restoration would not end with the building of the Jewish temple. The fullness of this restoration would come nearly 600 years later through the Life, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ when true worshipers would worship in Spirit and in Truth.
Until that time, Our Lord calls us to be faithful. He has given us His Church, which is His temple, and He calls His members of His Church to follow His ways.
As the Jews in today’s first reading were influenced by the sins of the peoples around them, so our Church is being attacked by the influences of the sins of society today. Our relativistic society is seeking to pollute our Church with its infidelities and its abominations. Our society today even defines marriage in ungodly ways, even though marriage is already defined by God and was created by God!
Our Church is the voice of God in a troubled world. Yet, many today do not want to listen to our Church.
|I don't want to wake up!|
As God's messengers were mocked for speaking the word of God, so it is today. We Catholics who stand up for the truth of our faith are mocked by the world.
Yet, if we do not want to be half-hearted Catholics, that is what we are called to do --live in the Truth. We are called to be a light to the world. As our Lord says in today’s Gospel (John 3:14-21), “Whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”
My brothers and sisters, let us Catholics individually heed the Lord's wake-up call.