July 4, 2012 - Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Amos 5.14-15, 21-24
Psalm 50.7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 16bc-17 Resp. 23b
Matthew 8.28-34

What is the point of keeping the trappings of Christianity if the heart is gone? There is no point. We should not celebrate the holy days if we no longer believe in the reason behind them, if they have become merely occasions to get drunk and eat too much. This is what the Lord means when he says, “I hate, I spurn your feasts.”

Religion is nothing without faith. Faith without religion is wandering in the wilderness, unsure where to go. Religion without faith is an empty palace, a cathedral where people take tours and look at the impressive stained glass but no one ever prays. Religion can work amazing things in a person who is struggling intellectually. That is not what is meant here. Religion cannot work when a person has rejected the faith. It would be better if those who have in every way rejected the Gospel would not come to the Eucharist. So many today get married because they want a beautiful wedding, but by living together before marriage and rejecting children after marriage, the wedding is empty, like a rotten tree with nothing inside.

Undoubtedly, a person celebrating the 4th of July can increase their patriotism if that has fallen by the wayside, but if someone is actively working to destroy this country but attends a 4th of July barbeque and fireworks and sings the national anthem, they are a hypocrite. So also, if a person is working to destroy the faith by completely ignoring morality and having no interest in repentance and even preaching death and destruction in this culture, yet they attend Mass for the social elements, they are a hypocrite. If a person fails, let them repent, but if a person has no interest in doing good, they should stay away until they are converted.

The demons called Jesus the Son of God, but they were his enemies and he treated them as such. The town saw the power of God in their midst and begged him to leave, so he did. The Church would be better off, not if we got rid of all the sinners, because then we all would have to leave, but if we got rid of all the people who are not even interested in trying. When they leave the Church it is a blessing for us and them. Perhaps someday they will change their mind and come back. In the meantime, it does no good to pretend that those who are against us are with us.