In this mornings Mass, we hear a letter to two Churches again in present-day Turkey. First John writes to the Church in Sardis. What we know about this Church is that it was a great city, that of wealth and well being. There was a present Church in that city, but John’s challenge to the people living there is that they appear to be alive, but inside they are dead. Can you think of anyone or even a Church that may be like Sardis? St. John’s words to us are challenging to us because it can be easy to have a faith that is focused primarily on the external and not the internal. We can think of the words of the prophet Hosea from the Old Testament “For it is loyalty that I desire, not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.” St. John’s challenge to the Church in Sardis is to give God your heart not just your external actions.
Secondly St. John writes to the Church of Laodicea. Interestingly enough they are located near two bodies of water and the pool in their city was neither hot nor cold. St. John was using an external reality to challenge them on the internal fact of the Church. They were neither hot, or active members of the faith, or cold, rejecting of the gospel and having nothing to do with it. These words may ring true in our lives. Our Lord rather us be bold not in anyway involved in the faith than lukewarm sitting on the fence and doing nothing to progress in the faith or reject it. How do we warm ourselves up in the faith? Do we make our Lord a daily part of our lives? Do we read and meditate over the scripture? Do we allow the Lord to transform our behavior, to act in a more Christ-like manner? Think of your faith like a cup of coffee, the best cup is hot, as long as it doesn’t burn your tongue. If coffee has sat out for a while it will become lukewarm, either you dump it out, or you stick it in the microwave or warm it up again with freshly brewed hot coffee. Our faith can grow lukewarm, and we can throw it out, or we can go back to the source which makes our faith alive and hot and refill our cups. Run to Christ who fills us with his grace, meditate on the scriptures which enlivens us with his word, receive his body and blood in mass, which fills us with life, go to him in confession where he removes that in us that is either cold or lukewarm.
One last note: The Church’s lectionary doesn’t contain all seven letters contained in Revelation I recommend if you have time to read them yourselves. Here are the order of the letters found in Revelation.
The Message to Ephesus: Rev 2:1-7 (Yesterday’s Reading)
The Message to Smyrna: Rev 2:8-11
The Message to Pergamum: Rev 2:12-17
The Message to Thyatira: Rev 2:18-29
The Message to Sardis: Rev 3:1-6 (Today’s Reading)
The Message to Philadelphia: Rev 3:7-13
The Message to Laodicea: Rev 3:14-22 (Today’s Reading)