THE REWARD OF A GOOD LIFE


Saturday 6th June – Saturday of week 9 in Ordinary Time

Reflection: Tobit 12: 1, 5-15, 20

THE REWARD OF A GOOD LIFE

“As water extinguishes the burning flames, almsgiving obtains pardon for sins. The man who responds by doing good prepares for the future, at the moment of his downfall he will find support” Sirach 3:30-31

Tobit was not only addressed by his kinsmen as a ‘good and worthy man, an honest man who is just and compassionate’ (Tobit 7:6, 9:6), but also by God who took notice of all his works of mercy in burying the dead and alms giving. For this reason, God sent the Angel Raphael in human form to deliver him in his time of need.  This shows that the reward of the just is truly with the Lord and that at the moment of their downfall, the Lord will support them. Ultimately, the Lord will reward the righteous with the beatific vision at the end of his sojourn on earth.

Dear friends, the exemplary life of Tobit is a model for us to follow. Give alms from what you have and do not give grudgingly but rather cheerfully. Do not turn your face from anyone who is poor so that God may not turn away His face from you. Give alms in proportion to the amount you have; if you have little, do not be afraid to give alms according to the little you have. The poor widow in our gospel today gave from all she had to live on and the Lord acknowledged her. In giving alms, we store up treasure against the day of tribulation, because almsgiving frees us from death and it is a form of atonement for our sins (Tobit 12:9). It is a precious treasure in the sight of God. Give to the poor and your neighbors in need; give to God His due (tithe) and give to His ministers and to your family members.

Beloved in Christ, a good name is better than gold or silver. Let us strive to live for the glory of God that we may be successful in all that we do.

Prayer: Lord, help me to daily strive to live a blessed life and make me understand that it is only in giving that I can receive.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: CCC 2443 – God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to Him who begs from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you;” “you received without pay, give without pay.” It is by what they have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen ones.

Hide a Treasure: “Always remember the Lord our God. Do not consent to sin or go against His commandments. Act justly all the days of your life, and do not walk in the paths of wrongdoing, for, if you act uprightly, you will be successful in all you do.” Tobit 4:5-6 CCB

Today’s Readings: Tobit 12:1,5-15,20; Tobit 13:2, 6-8 (canticle);  Mark 12:38-44

THOUGH SORROW MAY LAST FOR THE NIGHT 

Friday 5th June – Friday of week 9 in Ordinary Time (St. Boniface , Bishop, Martyr)

Reflection: Tobit 11:5-17

THOUGH SORROW MAY LAST FOR THE NIGHT 

Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers them from all” (Psalm 34:19)

Tobit was a good and upright man who had walked in the way of truth and justice all his life. He performed several works of mercy: giving alms, burying the dead even at the risk to his own life. Despite his good deeds, Tobit became blind (Tobit 2:7-10). In his distress, he cried to the Lord and the Lord heard him (Tobit 3:16). The Lord made plans to restore his sight in His own way and time. Thus, dear friend, when we pray, God hears more than we say, He answers more than we ask, He gives more than we imagine, but, in His own time and in His own way. So, we have to keep the faith all through the dark nights as Tobit did for four years.

Being good people or upright Christians does not mean we will not have challenges and trials or situations that might make us question the very essence of our faith. However, we can be certain that God will come to our aid though the time and manner may remain unclear. Thus, having faith does not mean having no difficulties, but having the strength to face them knowing we are not alone. Beloved in Christ, if you are going through some challenging or difficult times presently, hold unto God; do not yield to the temptation of questioning His love or be embittered at Him; rather present your situation to Him in prayer and wait on Him. Dear friend, God has a purpose for our pain, a reason for our struggles and a reward for our faithfulness. Don’t give up!

Prayer: Give me the grace Lord to stand firm in the light of your presence all the days of my life. Amen

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 102Why are we too supposed to accept suffering in our lives and thus “take up our cross” and thereby follow Jesus?

Christians should not seek suffering, but when they are confronted with unavoidable suffering, it can become meaningful for them if they unite their sufferings with the sufferings of Christ: “Christ…suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21).

Christians have the task of alleviating suffering in the world. Nevertheless, there will still be suffering. In faith we can accept our own suffering and share the suffering of others. In this way human suffering becomes united with the redeeming love of Christ and thus part of the divine power that changes the world for the better.

Hide a Treasure: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:19 RSV- CE

Today’s Readings: Tobit 11:5-17, Psalm 146: 2, 7-10, Mark 12:35-37

SINGLENESS OF HEART

Thursday 4th June – Thursday of week 9 of the year

Reflection: Tobit 8: 4-9

SINGLENESS OF HEART

“…I do it in the singleness of heart…”(Tobit 8:7)
The title of today’s reflection casts my mind back to my Chemistry lessons in Secondary school. We were taught the differences between homogenous and heterogeneous compounds. Basically, a heterogeneous compound is made up of two or more constituents while a homogenous compound is of a single make. The homogenous compound is essentially a pure compound. 

The human mind can also be related to a compound- It could either be homogenous i.e. pure and of a single make or heterogeneous i.e. impure; a jumbo mixture of many parts. Our Blessed Savior in the beatitudes calls the pure hearted blessed, for they shall see God ( Matthew 5:8) and from the first reading of today we hear these words of Tobit: “ …I do not take my sister for any lustful motive; I do it in singleness of heart.” Beloved in Christ, the place of motive is crucial in our actions or inactions in life. Except our hearts are pure and right with God, our motives will not be right. They will be nothing but inordinate and self-seeking.
Tobit said the above in relation to his newly wedded wife. As youths, prospective husbands and wives, how sincere is the love we profess in our relationships? It is a common phenomenon that some young men and ladies go about deceiving and exploiting the opposite sex in the name of “love.” Beloved in Christ, this must not be our line of action as sons and daughters of Light. The love our Lord calls us to in today’s Gospel demands that we have the fear of God and seek to honor Him in all our dealings. This is the only way we can access the blessings professed by the Psalmist today. To do otherwise is to walk in the path of deception which leads only to regrets!

PRAYER: Deliver me Lord from every grip of falsehood. Please make my heart pure and sincere like Yours that I may see your loving-kindness in all my ways. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 463How does one achieve “purity of heart”?

The purity of heart required for love is achieved in the first place through union with God in prayer. When God’s grace touches us, this also produces a path to pure, undivided human love. A chaste person can love with a sincere and undivided heart.

When we turn to God with a sincere intention, he transforms our hearts. He gives us the strength to correspond to his will and to reject impure thoughts, fantasies, and desires. 

HIDE A TREASURE: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” Matthew 5:8 RSV-CE.

Today’s Readings: Tobit 6: 10-11, 7:1,9-14, 8:4-9; Psalm 128: 1-5; Mark 12: 28-34

PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM

Wednesday 3rd June – Memorial of St Charles Lwanga and his Companions, Martyrs

Reflection: Tobit 3:1-11, 16-17

PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM

The true measure of our faith is not seen when all around us is going smoothly. Practically all of us can sing praises to God in times of comfort and abundance.  However, how easily are we prone to speak ill of God in times of tribulations and trials? How readily do we forget His previous benefits and appreciate is ongoing provisions even in our storms.  For some, the mind is completely occupied with nothing but the question: “why me?”

Beloved in Christ, our life is not designed to be problem-free as some would want us to believe nowadays. The way of the cross walked by our Blessed Savior and the saints gone ahead of us still remains relevant to us Christians of this age (Luke 9:23). The better we are prepared for this, the more we are equipped to walk through it victoriously. Today, as the Church celebrates the faith of Charles Lwanga (The patron Saint of youth and Catholic action in Africa) and his companions (fellow Ugandan martyrs); we have much to learn from them as youths of this age. These young men joyfully braved the wave of cruel opposition against their newly professed faith to the point of martyrdom.

Dearest in Christ, this calls us to assess our own response to the struggles of our lives. What problems are you going through that have kept you mournful and sorrowful? Perhaps it appears a lot seems not to be working well around you. Please do not dwell on your losses or inadequacies, rather choose to look on the bright side of life. When we call to remembrance the wonderful deeds of God in times past and appreciate how better off our situations are compared to that of many, we cannot but thank God. The sincere praise of God in trying times has the capacity to work unimaginable wonders (Acts 16: 16-30; 2 Chronicles 20: 1-30). Let us emulate the faith of Tobit as seen in today’s first reading who despite the odds around him acknowledged the faithfulness of God. Our song of praise, especially in difficult times, is a sound affirmation of our trust in God and a veritable weapon against the assaults of the evil one.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, I am sorry for the moments I have failed to appreciate you in my difficulties. Please help me to see your faithfulness in my life at all times. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 40 – Can God do anything? Is he almighty?

For God nothing is impossible. He is almighty. Anyone who calls on God in need believes that he is all-powerful… He guides all things and can do everything. How he uses his omnipotence is of course a mystery.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 GNB

Today’s Readings: Tobit 3: 1-11, 16-17; Psalm 25: 2-9; Mark 12: 18-27