From the temple’s religion
to the worship of the heart
There is a video by Fr. Fernando Armellini with English subtitles
commenting on today’s Gospel reading:
When one refers to the need of renunciation, self-control and sacrifice, the audience is often surprised. They express it sometimes with a wry smile and a blink while a few is amused. It’s pretty embarrassing; it was also for Paul in Caesarea. The Roman procurator had listened carefully to the apostle, but when Paul began “to speak about justice, self-control and the future judgment” he interrupted him: “You may leave now—he said—I shall send for you some other time” (Acts 24:25).
In a world where success smiles at opportunists, where those who enjoy life are admired, every intemperance is allowed and they make their force the rule of law (Wis 2:6-9). Who recalls certain values, some challenging choices, runs the risk of not being understood and becoming unpopular. Yet, this is not the only reason why today Christian ethics is viewed with distrust or mocked.
There is an error that educators, motivated with the best of intentions, often make. They expose the moral obligations before speaking about God and his love, before having made clear that he is not the antagonist of man’s happiness but the Father who desires that his children may have the fullness of life. This right theological and pedagogical approach is the first reason for the rejection of Christian morality.
There’s a second one: hypocrisy. It is the impeccable religious practice disconnected from love and justice; the worship of God associated with attachment to money and to a grudge against the brother; the performance of external rites to silence the conscience. The liturgical services are authentic only when they celebrate a life according to the Gospel. The prayers acceptable to God are those done “lifting up pure hands, without anger and dissension” (1 Tim 2:8).
To internalize the message, we repeat:
“The pure and unblemished religious practice faultless is never separated from loving people.”