July 2, 2014 - 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.” God hates when someone celebrates a feast but denies the meaning. 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.

We can see that religious holidays without faith are worse than useless when we consider what Christmas is turned into by those who do not care about the birth of Jesus. On the other hand, a religious feast can bring someone back to the faith who is struggling. That is not what is meant here. There is a difference between a person who struggles, and a person who has rejected the faith. If a person has rejected the Gospel, they should not celebrate the holy days. They should not come to the Eucharist. The Church would be better off, not if we got rid of all the sinners, because then we would all have to leave, but if all the people who are not even interested in trying would just leave us alone. 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 social or political reasons, they are a hypocrite. When we sin, we should repent and confess our sins, but if a person does not want to repent, 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. When those who choose not to believe leave the Church, it is a blessing for us and for them. Perhaps someday they will change their minds and come back. In the meantime, it does no good to pretend that those who are against us are with us. We should not welcome people into the Church so that they can subvert her mission from within.