FROM WORDS TO ACTION
If we are not faithful to all the relationships that are in our lives, our prayer is only about our own selfishness.
We can let worship be a sedative rather than a spur to action and love. In it we can profess our faith and trust in God, our belief that all belongs to God, that we are stewards of our heavenly Father's world and then so easily not live up to that in daily life and practice. That this can happen does not argue against worship, but simply points out that there is no automatic way to make us humans moral and worthy sons and daughters of our God apart from our cooperation and will.
As Catholics we might say that we are faithful to going to Mass and receiving Eucharist every Sunday and that we pray regularly. We may even practice special devotions like novenas or Eucharistic Adoration. But our Heavenly Father, through the prophets, tells us that none of this is enough unless we "let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream" (Amos 5:24). This is what God calls us to do with prayer! Justice and goodness make our prayer acceptable to our Father. In Scripture, "justice" always means honoring the needs of all our relationships, being faithful to our spouse and family, and honest in our work and dealings. And then God wants us to go more deeply, to share our resources with those who need them. If we are not faithful to all the relationships that are in our lives, our prayer is only about our own selfishness. To be a Eucharistic person, we accept our bond with and responsibility for all.
In the responsorial psalm today we acclaimed, "To the upright I will show the saving power of God" (Ps 50). We need to remember that God doesn't need our sacrifices, our offerings, our money, etc. What our Father calls us to and wants is the sincerity of our devotion and the love of our hearts, and the manifestation of this love in our love to all people for God's sake. That is what is pleasing to Him!
Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew, is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God. This happens through His love and grace - all we need to do is accept it and share it.