Memorial of St. Teresa of Jesus, virgin and doctor of the Church
(Romans 1:16-25; Luke 11:37-41)
May we call comfort and convenience contemporary gods? People certainly pay them much tribute. Drive-through services, for example, abound: bank deposits, fast food purchases, even prescription pick-ups are done seemingly as often as not without getting out of the car. One downside of this form of convenience is that partakers deprive themselves of personal encounters and a little exercise. Another is that fossil fuel producing greenhouse gases is being burnt. But there may be something deeper at stake. People need to ask themselves if the regular use of drive-ins is God’s will. They would find St. Paul's critique of worshiping created things in today's first reading helpful in their self-interrogation.
For Paul the universe gives ample testimony to a Creator and to the Creator’s will. For millennia the latter was called natural law and well accepted in civilized societies. Paul also believes that God punishes those who do not abide by that law. Venereal disease would be an example as a punishment for fornicators and adulterers. Paul’s purpose is not to give a philosophical treatise but to introduce God’s plan of universal salvation through Jesus Christ. Humans - he will show in the course of the letter - would not be able to abide by natural law without the grace of Jesus.
St. Theresa of Jesus believed that often religious in her day were ignoring God the Creator in favor of creaturely comforts. She reformed the Carmelite Order so that a purer worship might be given to God. We too might improve our worship of God by reforming our lifestyles.