Jesus is talking to the Pharisees, right? Not me!
17 October 2018
I always feel a bit safe when we get to today’s Gospel! I don’t pay tithes on the herbs I grow (and woe to the Church if I did, because I’m a lousy gardener), I prefer to sit up the back at Mass (what good Catholic doesn’t), and as an introvert, I actually prefer to get my shopping done in peace! So I can sit back and relax a bit…
If I look a bit deeper, though, I think such surface attention to petty details, rather than looking to the heart of things, is exactly what Jesus is criticising in the Pharisees. If their attention to detail was a natural outflow of a conscientious heart full of love for God, then Jesus’ correction would perhaps have been a lot gentler and more compassionate.
Instead, it seems that they had lost sight of the point of tithing (giving back to God who so generously gives to us), sitting up the front (to be closer to all the action and thus be able to better focus one’s attention), and being influential (to draw others into relationship with God). The result: the petty details became burdens that they imposed on others, rather than a witness to God’s love for all.
I wonder how often the way that I live my faith becomes the same? Is my living, loving relationship with God at the centre of all that I do in a way that others can’t miss that that is what is important? Or is the main evidence of my faith eating fish on Fridays and stressing about whether I can fit in a sleep-in and breakfast and an hour fast before Mass?
Lord, help me to re-focus, to find you and relationship with you as the motivating centre behind all that I do.