REFLECTION FOR TUESDAY 5TH OF MARCH 2019(8TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME I).
THEME: *WHEN GIFTS AND SERVICES BECOME BRIBES*
The two readings today repeatedly talk about the act of giving. The first reading (Sirach 35:1-12) focuses on the material aspect of gift, *do not appear before God empty-handed...with every gift, show a cheerful face, and dedicate your tithes with gladness...for the Lord who repays will repay you in sevenfold*. The gospel reading (Mark 10:28-31) on the other hand, though also focuses on the material, but more on human aspect of gift, *truly I say to you, whoever has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, will receive a hundredfold in this life, and after, eternal life*.
Hence, from the both aspects of gift, we can see that gift can come in form of giving out material goods to either God or man, also as a service rendered to either God or fellow men. However, the first reading makes a striking statement which gives us a hint that there is a tin-line between gifts/services, and bribes👉 ~*do not offer God a bribe, for it will not be accepted by Him*.~ This means that there are gifts and services which appear as bribes before God. Simply put, the motives for our gifts and services to God and humanity will determine if they are bribes before God or acceptable gestures.
My biological father once told me he stopped his educational assistance (financial wise) to people as he used to, because most of the people he had helped are ingrates to him today🤓. Also, one of our youths once told me he stopped being active in the Church work and services, because the priests are not helping their youths financially in the Church. From the above examples, you can see where lie the motives of many people who are helpful materially to people, those who are generous in the Church, and those who are very active in the church's spiritual and corporal works👉 ~doing so in anticipation of either immediate or future rewards from such people, or from God Himself.~ When we render material assistance or service to people or God with this mentality, we are not different from those who give bribes. Because bribes are given so as to get something in return or permission to do what you wish. The first reading then reminds us the reason why we should be always generous, rendering services to God and humanity, *glorify the Lord generously, give to the most high(and others) as He (God) has given you generously*. That is, whatever and whoever you have, family, land, money, wisdom, time, energy, etc, have been generously given to you by God to use, and you must not addictively cling on to them, but allow them to be used to glorify God, the authors, source and giver of those gifts. We must joyfully give out to God and man from what God has given to us. Even at that, the both readings still assures us of God's further rewards on earth and in the life to come.
May God grant us genuinely generous hearts🤲Amen.
GOOD MORNING. WISHING YOU A GENEROUS DAY AHEAD.
✍ _ENIOWO VICTOR O. ALABI_.