My fallen away brothers who were both baptized in the Church have cited several excuses for not being faithful to the teachings, sacraments, and traditions of the Church. Among the excuses I have heard is that the people who go to church are hypocrites. This is definitely a true statement of many Catholics today. We must remember, however, that Christ started his church for the sinners, not for the saints.
In reflecting on today's Mass reading from the Old Testament - Amos 5:14-15, 21-24, it is clear that God hated his worshippers. Perhaps my brothers are right. Well, let's just wait a minute and take a little closer look. Many times people look too quickly at the surface, or listen to others who do not tell the whole story. In Amos 5:21 God did say: "I hate, I spurn your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemnities."
Our Lord says in Amos 5:23-24: "If you would offer Me holocausts, then let justice surge like water, and goodness like an unfailing stream." Our songs are just noise, our prayers are all so fake if we are not repentant, and we fail to follow his word.
God truly does admire his people, their songs, their prayers, their charity, when we are one with him and our mother church. "Seek good and not evil, that you may live; then truly will the Lord, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim!" (Am 5:14)
Like any loving, caring mother, the Church has rules, guidelines, and the such to help it's children get through this life on Earth, navigate the rough waters, and keep the faith, so they may all share in the great feast in Heaven.
Modern western law was indeed borrowed from the Catholic Church, as were many great and meaningful things we have in our society today. There are far less "laws" in the Church than there are in many cities, states and countries. Christ passed on the authority to Saint Peter, and his successors (the complete line of popes from Peter to Benedict XVI), when he told Peter that whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. If we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and his church, and if we are blessed with the grace of the Holy Spirit, we will make it down the long, winding, tiny road. If we stray, and take the easy way, or decide to blaze our own path, we may find ourselves lost or on the highway to destruction.
May my brothers and my entire family have the desire put on their hearts by the Holy Spirit to experience our Lord in the Holy Eucharist every day of their lives. I will never cease to pray for my family, my son's mother and her family, and my friends. I pray that God will always look at me as being "with him", and that he will enjoy my songs, and prayers.