An Irish bishop once preached: “Paddy Murphy went to Mass, and never missed a Sunday. But Paddy Murphy went to hell, for what he did on Monday!” It was the bishop’s intention to remind his listeners –in a rather crude and direct way!- that Christianity involves more than simply fulfilling religious obligations.
Our Lord seems to say the same thing in today’s gospel. As we heard, he challenged those scribes and Pharisees who kept religious rituals but neglected more important matters, such as justice, mercy, faith, generosity, and sacrifice.
You and I can be tempted to fall into this same trap. And when this happens, we lose sight of the fact that at the heart of Christianity are not rituals but a relationship- a personal relationship with God the Holy Trinity.
Such a relationship was Jesus’ deepest wish for the scribes and Pharisees he criticized. And it is his deepest wish for us.
Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082311.cfm