I heard on the news the other day that a growing opinion among more and more people is that too many tradesmen no longer take any serious pride in their work. Few true craftsmen are left. It seems that more and more people only want to do the bare minimum, not only at their job, but also in the practice of their religion. Even for many Catholics, an hour at Mass on Sunday is considered more than enough time to give to God over the course of a week.
The point Our Lord makes in today’s gospel is that religion can’t be approached as a job to be done in the quickest, most convenient way possible. Minimalism in religion just doesn’t work. We cannot ask: “What is the least I can do to get by and not end up outside the kingdom of heaven?” I am quite confident that none of us thinks that way, or we wouldn’t be here today.
Our Lord places a particular emphasis on the fact that life must reflect worship. And he does this in a surprising way by saying that we must leave our offering at the altar if we discover that someone has something against us. It’s another way of saying that we can’t really love God if we don’t love our neighbour. In one sense, it’s alot easier to make the effort to come to worship God than it is to make the effort to love everyone we meet. At Mass, it’s easy just to go through the motions without really trying to live a life of love for others. And in this way the Mass becomes a form of minimalism.
Saint Paul says that: “God has shone in our hearts, that we in turn might make known the glory of God shining on the face of Christ.” Our contact with the love of God here at Mass must be reflected in the way in which we live.