What God demands from us is not necessarily our money, position and how spiritual we appear to be. It is not how often we pay our tithes and offering. The true worship God demands is seen in how we truly love Him and treat each other. Today, almost every family has a prayer warrior who prays and brings down fire from heaven but yet we destroy our families with hatred, envy, disunity, and injustice.
The country and state are blessed with thousands of churches but yet the rate of killing, kidnapping, bribery, unfairness, corruption etc are seriously affecting the growth of the country. These problems are still perpetrated by the same people who go to church every Sunday and shout Amen to prayers and declarations.
What God demands from us is not how we claim to love Him but how sincere is our love of Him. His utmost demands are love, justice, kindness, defending the poor and willingness to stand up for the truth. It is also how we use what we have to save souls than destroy them.
In the Gospel
In the gospel of today, Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees continues. He further proceeds to unleash three woes upon the Pharisees for their way of life. He accuses them of developing interest only in religious observances but neglects the essentials of what God demands.
Mints and rue are herbs. The people normally use them for flagrant and medicinal purposes. Instead of missing their tithes, the Pharisees go to the extent of using these herbs to maintain their religious observance. Hence Jesus accuses of them of strict observance of using even insignificant things to pay their tithe but totally neglect true love of God and justice, which they should have practised.
The Pharisees love greetings from market places and praises from people and cherish high places of honour yet their hearts are very far away from God. Jesus further accuses them of developing a love for unnecessary things that have no value in their relationship with God and the salvation of souls.
He compares them to unmarked sepulchres that people walk on without knowing and hence defiling themselves. The reason is that the Jews believe that anyone who has a little contact with a dead person defiles himself and should be seen as unclean for seven days ( Numbers 19:16).
This in essence means that the Pharisees contaminate people spiritually with their teachings and way of life. They mislead the people with wrong ideas about God. Instead of showing the people how loving God is, they burden them with an avalanche of laws not necessary for their salvation. Even when the lawyer speaks up, Jesus accuses also him of this.
The Truth of What God demands
1. The Pharisees love vainglory, excessive pride and showing off, but Jesus demands true worship of God and humility. We do not worship God so that people will see us and clap for us. Our aim of worshipping God is not to satisfy the public eye or giving the impression that we are powerful and the best. What God demands is true worship of Him; in spirit and truth.
2. Today shows Jesus’ willingness to stand, speak and defend the poor. This is the true essence of whatever position we occupy. Every political, religious, and socio-economic position we occupy is for the interest of the people and not for our self-interests. Always know that we are working to serve the people and for the growth of our nation. If every sector of the nation can understand this, then things will work out well for us.
3. Outwardly we may appear to honour God but inwardly we fill our hearts with hatred and envy. This is why despite the echo of our preaching and teaching, evil continues to increase. What God demands from us is the true love of Him and not an outward show of how we love Him. It is also the true love of the people around us and not praying down fire to consume them. God demands that we act justly in whatever we do with true love and regard of one another. He loves it when we become a light to others.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to live for the love of Him. May He forgive us in any way we have made mistakes in life. Amen