1 Thess 1:1-5, 8-10 / Matthew 23:13-22
When we look at any institution or organization, whether religious or secular, there are usually these stages of development.
It started with a dream or vision; then it becomes an organization; then it develops into an institution.
It is when it has reached the stage of being an institution that problems can arise.
Because if it does not have the original vision as its foundation and motivation, then formalization and stagnation will creep in.
And when it is ignored and left unchecked, the fossilization will take place.
Jesus challenged the institutionalized religion of His time.
Because the scribes and Pharisees had made religion so formalized that it had lost its vision and purpose and became fossilized.
We, the Church are also constantly faced with this challenge.
Our faith is not just about keeping laws and observing commandments and obligations.
Of course all that have a purpose, and it is meant to remind us that our faith must be expressed in concrete acts of love.
But it is not just about how well we keep to the laws and commandments and obligations.
It is also about how much we have expressed the laws and commandments and obligations in love.
When faith is expressed with love, then we the Church will grow and increase.