Ah, pity the poor Pharisees and Sadducees. Blasted again for missing the point. John tells them to produce good fruit as evidence of their repentance. Stop leaning on your laurels, claiming that as children of Abraham, you are the Chosen Ones. John warns them that being Children of Abraham doesn’t guarantee anything. It isn’t who are you, what is your heritage, it is what have you done with that heritage. How many have been brought to God, or have too many been forgotten while ritual and rule were upheld. Rules are great, they keep order, but the rules aren’t enough on their own. John’s warning was meant to steer them to a path of repentance, not for rules sake, but for God’s sake. The love of God and the sharing of that love, that should come from the rules, but the rules can’t get in the way. God’s love, and the sharing of that love transcends any rule. John’s warning was to the Pharisee and Sadducees, but it is a warning that we should, that we must, heed. It is far too easy for us to find ourselves in the role of the Pharisees. You want rules? We’ve got’em.
Rules, they are necessary, but they are not the point. It isn’t the keeping of the rules that makes us holy. We are certainly not headed to heaven just because we belong to the Church. We must, we must remember that the rules, that membership in the Church, are transcended by the love of God. We have to avoid the rules trap, the one that says, you must say this prayer at this time in this way with these words, possibly in this particular language, or it doesn’t count. Really? Do you really think that God cares? If using a particular formula or a particular language brings you closer to God, makes it possible for you to truly enter into prayer, then by all means do it. Just leave the door open for everyone else. I think God just wants us to pray, to communicate, to love God and one another. Sharing love, with God and each other, that is the reign of God.
Second Sunday in Advent
Dec. 9, 2007