“On a Sabbath, while he was going through the grain fields, his disciples plucked and ate some heads of grain, rubbing them in their hands. But some of the Pharisees said, “Why are you doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath?” (Luke 6:1-2)
It is one thing to worship God in spirit and in truth but a different thing altogether to be religious. While religiosity has to do with worshiping God through external acts, spirituality has to do with rendering to God worship that is from the heart. Religiosity is excellent when it is accompanied by true spirituality. However, without spirituality, religion becomes empty – like one running on the spot; using energy but lacking motion.
The condition of the religious leaders at the time of Jesus was a direct fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy: “These people draw near with their mouths and honour me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, and their worship of me is a human commandment.” (Isaiah 29:13). In the name of keeping the Sabbath holy, some Jews would not even get up from their beds to drink water since that too is considered as work. Yet, the basics of religion (worship in spirit and in truth) were absent.
We are a religious nation; our churches are packed full Sunday after Sunday, we observe the rites and rituals but our hearts are far from God. This explains the extent of moral decadence among Christians today. We are not different from the Scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus described as hypocrites.
Let us examine ourselves today by asking: Am I really worshiping God from my heart or am I only concerned about what others would say about me? Repentance is the key. St. Paul in today’s first reading reminds us of our past and encourages us to change by saying: “you who were once hostile in mind, doing evil things have now been reconciled… in order to present you holy and blameless.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, change me but let this change begin from the inside. Amen.
Bible Study: Colossians 1:21-23 and Luke 6:1-5).