“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.
Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot.”
Sometimes it is our passions that get us into trouble. We may say things we wish we had not, or do things we later regret, sometimes only moments later. The first reading is not talking about those moments today. Instead, it addresses those times of apathy. Those times, perhaps, of omission. When we cannot be bothered. When we are too busy. When we insist that it is someone else’s job. Those are the times when we are “neither cold nor hot.”
The Lord is not asking us today to always and everywhere do the right thing, but at the very least, to act. Where might this call be inviting you today? What has been pushed off for too long? What could you resolve, or begin to resolve today?
—Patrick Hyland, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Chicago-Detroit province, is currently studying philosophy at St. Louis University.
Lord help us to commit our lives to making the Gospel come alive each day—even in the boring, usually hidden, often humdrum ways in which we care for and reach out to one another… especially those on the margins, those without a voice. With you as our companion, let us walk forward steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, untiring in love.