Pure unspoilt religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to
the aid of orphans and widows when they need it…” (James 1:27)
If a survey was conducted among thousands of religious people asking them for a definition of religion, how many would come up with something similar to this?
Probably not many! Yet James is being utterly consistent with his Jewish background, and the Scriptures offer us many similar reflections:
What I want is mercy not sacrifice! (Hosea 6:6, quoted by Jesus in Matt 9:13)
“Is this not the fast that I choose, to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house…?” (Is 58:6-7)
So, in these days when we struggle to imagine the future of a wounded church and when religion appears to many to be in terminal decline, let us remind ourselves of why we gather around the Eucharistic table in the first place. We are the guests of the host who wants us to be more like him and that is all that matters!
Let’s keep it simple!