Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin
Cease doing evil; learn to do good. (Isaiah 1:16-17)
Isaiah 1:10-17;Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21, 23; Matthew 10:34–11:1
Relationships change us. Think about someone you have been close to for a long time—a husband or wife, brother or sister, son or daughter. What would you be like without that person? Sometimes it’s subtle, sometimes obvious, but we can all make long lists of the people who have changed our lives.
Of course, people can change us for better or for worse, but what about our relationship with God? Considering how powerful he is, it only makes sense that a relationship with him will change us—and always for the good! That’s because the closer to God we get, the more we grow into the people he has made us to be.
This was not happening for the people of Judah in today’s first reading. They were observing the forms of worship, but at the same time, they were treating the vulnerable cruelly. This persistent injustice showed that the people’s relationship with God was frail. So through Isaiah, God says that he won’t accept their worship—not while they have innocent blood on their hands.
This passage tells us that our relationship with God is not confined to our time at church or our prayer time. Can you imagine a marriage where the husband lets his wife speak to him only every other day? Or a friend that ends all conversations exactly at the thirty-minute mark? Of course not! Genuine relationships are organic. They encompass many aspects of our lives. They can’t be bounded or enclosed.
God wants us to experience worship that changes our hearts. He wants us to connect with him in prayer so that we take on his mercy, love, patience, and justice. We know that our worship is fruitful when we notice our behavior changing. We act more kindly toward people. We are slower to judge and quicker to forgive. Our words become more upbuilding, and we become more generous with our time and our resources.
So don’t separate your time with God from the rest of your life! Make it a point in your prayer to find the presence of the Lord. Focus on your relationship with him, and not just on your needs or your worries. Let this relationship continue to change you—always for the better!
“Father, help my worship to bring me closer to you and to make me more like you.”~WAU