August 27, 2012 - Monday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time

2 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 11-12
Psalm 96:1-5
Matthew 23:13-22

The religion of the scribes and Pharisees is so very small. They make distinctions between whether vowing by the temple is like crossing your fingers, but vowing by the gold in the temple is the real deal. How sad! Their religion is no longer about glorifying God or becoming like gods. They remember that Elijah could call down fire and rain from heaven, but they do not have any aspirations of doing the same thing themselves. They have become old, even the young. The excitement is completely gone. All that is left is making fine distinctions which never really mattered anyway.

Meanwhile, we see the youth and excitement of St. Paul, one of those Pharisees. He became a Christian and was inspired to go forth and preach the word of God. His hopes for the Thessalonians know no limit. He only asks that God powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose. He sees the faith flourishing and the love growing. Jesus has changed everything.

It is possible for our religion to become about nothing more than disagreeing about some teaching. It is possible to reduce the Gospel to apologetics, so that the point of Christianity is proving that we do not worship Mary. Or it is possible to reduce the Gospel to some social issue, as if the Resurrection were unimportant. There are all important in their own way, but far more important than anything else is that we become Saints. Whichever work is our portion to accomplish in this world, apologetics or social or political or anything else, has to take a backseat to the real point of it all. The reason to be a Christian is to glorify God and to be worthy of his calling. There must be no smallness about us. We are in a relationship with the Creator of the universe. He loves us and has plans for us to live forever glorifying his name and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are constantly in danger of falling back into old habits. If our religion is getting smaller all the time, reduced to the unimportant, let us try to remember what is important, the joy we had when we first began to follow God. The reign of God is waiting for us with infinite potential. What is so important to us that we let it get in the way of entering into the Kingdom prepared for us from the foundation of the world?