6 Sept 2020. Cycle A-2020. 23rd Sunday OT. Ez 33:7-9 + Rom 13:8-10 + Mt 18:15-20
“Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt 18:19-20).
One hour to worship God seems too much to sacrifice for every 168 hours a week.
Excuses? Job demand is exhausting, and housework is overwhelming. Leisure fun demands full time, and friends demand selfish attention. Too many appointments to keep, and too many people to meet. Too many thing to do, and too tired to go out.
Everything is more important than to attend Sunday worship. Feeding Sunday worship online or on TV for those too busy to be “available” seemed to have done the opposite — “never available.” The not-available pleads, “TV could offer choices of more uplifting homilies. Selfless love taught in Church is too rigid.” Amazingly, anyone allots time and effort to something somebody wants to do, as Jesus had observed (cf. Mt 6:21).
“Stay-home ringside-view worship is just as complete, if not better, than bleacher-view worship.” God is, indeed, everywhere, but one’s heart is not everywhere so it cannot meet God everywhere (cf. Mt 15:8).
Is attending a party, in person, just as complete and just as fun as watching the pictures of the party posted on Facebook or on YouTube? Imagine a guest declining an invitation to a party tell this to a host. How would the host take such a snub?
The ultimate excuse is Covid-19 safety. But, if it is safe to go to work, if it is safe to go to grocery, if it is safe to go shopping, if it is safe to take public transportation, then it is safe to go to church. To go to church to worship Someone Who is in complete charge, would alleviate all Covid-19 anxieties.
Excuses abound but, really, a true worship of God seeks more what to give to God, than what to get from God. A congregation is a community in worship. Jesus assured us in the gospel today that he unites himself with a community united in prayer. Father Patrick Peyton of Family-Rosary fame paraphrased Jesus’ promise, “A family (or community) that prays together stays together.”
Consider this. A runner will find it doubly faster to run a mile with a group than to run a mile by himself. A laborer finds more stamina working with a group, rather than working alone. In congregation worship, we pray together more wholeheartedly and more intensely. We “encourage one another and build one another up” (1Th 5:11) VSS
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