Dt 4:1-2,6-8; Ps 15 The one who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord; James 1:17-18,21-22,27; Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23
We encounter the word "Religion" in today's reading.
St James speaks about religion in today's second reading. The greek term is threskeia, which generally denotes religious acts of worship, which includes rituals and the like. However, James is reminding the people that the rituals and religious acts of worship are meant to change us and transform us. What we do in worship is meant to affect how we choose to live.
We cannot give proper worship to God unless we are willing to be led by God and be transformed by the worship we participate.
For James that transformation means that we are concerned with the poorest and most vulnerable in our society. We are obligated to seek them out and be attentive to their needs. For James this group included the widows and the orphans. As we worship God and God comes to fill our life then we are being empowered to reach out to those in need.
Thus our worship is no longer just something we do in the temple or church building but becomes a part of our daily life. In thus manner we are able to pray always without ceasing because our life has become that prayer to God as we serve and offer ourselves.
James also tells us that "if anyone thinks he is religious, an does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is in vain."
Not only are we ask to let our actions show our true devotion to God. But also our words must reveal a devoted heart as well. St Paul tells us that we should day only the good things men need to hear so that it may impart grace to those who hear it (Ephesians 4:29).
True worship must be seen both in the words we speak and the actions we live daily.
The external ritual of worship should transform us internally so that externally we reveal to the world the God of love.
How we live our religion is evidence to the world that God is alive as Moses points out in today's first reading. We can't free lance what we believe but rather hold firm to what God has revealed.
Why do so few people believe in Jesus and God our father? Perhaps it is because we has christians do not live as we should.
It is not God who is lacking in revealing himself but rather us who are lacking in giving evidence of what we believe.
Just as we are started to find life where we least expect it so people should be startle to discover that God is alive by the choices we make and the life we live.