The Gospel passage today demonstrates two very different ideas of Religion. To the Pharisees religion was all about rituals. It was about obeying certain rules and regulations.
It is to suggest that the religious person is the one who goes to Church, reads the bible, says grace at meals, does all the externals but never goes out of the way for another, has no sense of sympathy, no desire to sacrifice for another, is deaf to the needs of another.
To Jesus religion was service. It was the love of God and the love of others. To Jesus the most important thing in the world was not the correct performance of a ritual but rather the response to the cry of the human need of another.
Today is Inauguration Day. In 1989 Ronald Reagan began what has become an Inauguration Day tradition. The outgoing president leaves a note on the desk in the Oval office for his successor. Perhaps the most gracious note was left by George Bush for his successor Bill Clinton, all the more remarkable given Bush’s bruising campaign loss to Clinton. The note read:
When I walked into this office just now, I felt the same sense of wonder and respect that I felt four years ago. I know you will feel that too.
I wish you great happiness here. I never felt the loneliness some Presidents have described.
There will be very tough times, made even more difficult by criticism you may not think is fair. I’m not a very good one to give advice; but just don’t let the critics discourage you or push you off course.
You will be our President when you read this note. I wish you well. I wish your family well.
Your success is our country’s success. I am rooting for you.
Good luck –
As President elect Biden and Vice President elect Harris take office today, may we for a moment, put politics aside. Let us pray that their terms in office may help our nation to heal. May they be examples of service to others especially those most in need. May they help to bring unity to our divided nation. May we strive to put our differences aside, that we may become who we say to the world we are. The United States of America.