Religion: Gift or Burden?

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Monday of week 21 in Ordinary Time, based on Matthew 23:13-22

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

  “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’ How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.”


Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Sr. Mary Ellen Green, O.P.

Mary Ellen is a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa, Wisconsin, USA. She is currently serving on the staff of Marywood Franciscan Spirituality Center in Woodruff, WI. Her ministry experience includes congregation leadership; secondary education (teaching and administration); formation and vocation ministry; and preaching retreats through Parable Conference for Dominican Life and Mission. In 2005-06 she spent fifteen months living at the Monastery of Sainte-Marie de Prouilhe, the cradle of the Dominican Order in southern France.