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Wednesday, July 5, 2006

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St. Anthony Zaccaria

Amos 5:14-15, 21-24
Psalm 50
Matthew 8:28-34

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god hates church

"I hate, I spurn your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemnities." —Amos 5:21

In today's first eucharistic reading, God says He hates our church services, can't stand our prayers, and thinks our religious music sounds rotten (Am 5:22-23). "Away with your noisy songs! I will not listen to the melodies of your harps" (Am 5:23). And all along we thought God liked these things. Yet in other parts of the Bible He tells us He is pleased with our worship and praise. It's when we're not repentant and just that all this lip service turns God off.

The Lord declares: "If you would offer Me holocausts, then let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream" (Am 5:23-24). Beautiful singing is just beautiful lying, if we're not living the words. Prayers are "phony" when we're unrepentant. Our fancy churches testify against us in a world where so many are unjustly deprived of the basic needs of life. We claim God is with us, but the real question is: "Are we with God?"

"Seek good and not evil, that you may live; then truly will the Lord, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim!" (Am 5:14) "Hate evil and love good, and let justice prevail at the gate; then it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will have pity" (Am 5:15). Lord, have mercy on the church-goers.

Prayer:  Father, my church building is clean, but my heart is defiled by sin. May I repent.

Promise:  "The demons kept appealing to Him, 'If you expel us, send us into the herd of swine.' He answered, 'Out with you!' " —Mt 8:31-32

Praise:  St. Anthony worked assiduously to get lukewarm Catholics to care so much about Jesus that they would desire to receive the Eucharist even daily.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 12, 2005

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