A Moment before the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the first reading for Sunday, we're listening in on part of a larger conversation. One where the most famous relationship in the Bible – God and His people – is being sorted out. It’s all about things like what does it mean for them to be God’s people? And what does it mean for God to be their God?
You wouldn’t get married without a lot of deep conversations with your intended. You’re not stupid. Neither is God.
Since this is going to be a relationship for the ages, they've got a lot to talk about.
The reason we’re reading it? It’s the backstory for Sunday's Gospel.
All of the unusual things that God's people do, their special observances, etc., all of that stuff flows from this relationship. And they are meant to support that relationship.
They’re supposed to be offerings to God. Out of love. As well as everyday reminders. To call them back to God in the busyness of life.
But that’s not what their special observances have become.
God’s people have lost touch with the reasons behind what they're doing. And with the One they're doing them for.
They've turned what was meant to deepen their relationship with God into little more than smugness and virtue signaling.
Which is why Jesus is calling them out.