Wednesday - 28th Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel – Luke11:42-46
All Show, No Tell
Back when I was teaching World Religions, the students were tasked with one major small group project. The details follow:
A small group SHOW & TELL (45 minutes) of the week's religion. The presentation must include: (1) how the religion celebrates birth, death, and marriage, (2) an all-class prayer experience in the style of that religion (3) one story/myth from that religion (4) 1 reading from that religion's scriptures (5) a detailed presentation of one feast/holy day. The presentation must be audio-visual; it will not be merely a verbal presentation. Additionally, students must also provide a detailed comparison of their assigned religion’s rituals with that of Christianity. To accomplish that, keep in mind how that religion makes use of food, song, dance, dress, art, architecture, and objects in its religious ceremonies. These terms will be explained further in class; in general, do not just present the items - explain the meaning and symbolism behind them. Grading will be on an individual basis.
Simple enough, right?
For the most part, the students did a fabulous job. But there were a couple of groups who seemed more interested in the visuals and not the substance! They got so caught up in dressing for the part, all flashy and bright, that they completely ignored the substance. They looked great but there was no ritual, no words or action, no heart. What should have been a good 45 minute presentation, for some, was over in 5-10 minutes. Smoke and mirrors!
Jesus continues His condemnation of the Pharisees in today’s Gospel calling them out for the same thing. You put on a good show publicly paying your taxes for something insignificant and you choose the best seats in the synagogue. But you pay no attention to the Law itself. It’s not about how you are dressed or how much applause you get from the people. You focus so much on the ‘show’ of paying tithes for garden herbs and mint but there is no heart. God calls us to focus on our actions, how we treat others! Love of God and others should be evident in your daily life and not on what coat you put on in the morning.
We are all called to be disciples of Christ, not mere performers in a play acting a part. We are called to live out our Christian faith in our thoughts, our words and in our actions.