The readings today deal with people who like the trappings of religion, without making it a real part of their lives.
In the Gospel Jesus tells us that just as a farmer cannot root out all the weeds without harming the wheat growing with them, so God will not here and now punish habitual sinners who just make a show of going along with religion. He cannot punish them now without harming their upright families and neighbors. They’ll get what’s coming to them in the end.
In the first reading, all the people of Jerusalem were proud of their beautiful temple, but while Jeremiah and some other few used it as a place where they could meet with God, conforming their lives to live in Godly ways, others saw it as an ornament to their lives.
That kind of people live comfortable sinful lives while limiting their interaction with God to a silly superstitious practice. In Jeremiah’s time that practice consisted of knocking three times on the temple’s doors whenever they passed by. Part of their gimmick was that they had to three times say, “The temple of the Lord. The temple of the Lord. The temple of the Lord.”
How about us? Do we have any such phony shows of religion?