SOWING THE WORD: TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN O.T. YEAR C
(2 Kgs 5:14-17; Ps 97:1-4; 2 Tim 2:8-13; Lk 17:11-19)
THEME: FROM INGRATITUDE TO GRATITUDE
Ingratitude is one of those little but deep sin in which some of us are falling into each day. It comes when we are quick to ask a favour but slow to say thanks when the favour has been granted. We are challenged today to grow out of ingratitude to gratitude.
Gratitude is the feeling of being grateful and wanting to express your thanks. We must strive to incorporate the sense of gratitude for whatever is done to us no matter how small it might be. In the gospel of today, ten lepers approached Jesus and asked for healing which he granted them. When their wish was made, he told them to go and show themselves to the priests as the Levitical customs demanded (Lev 13-14). On their way, all realized they had been healed of their leprosy. Nine remained ungrateful while one rushed to Jesus to thank him for the healing. I wonder why the nine others after all the torments they went through coupled with the segregation that the disease brought to them would not go to say thank you to Jesus? Once we are ungrateful people, we don't find any reason to thank others for what they do for us. When we look at Naaman in the first reading, we realize that after being healed of his leprosy by the prophet Eilisha, he decides to offer thanks which the prophet refused to receive the gifts of thankssgiving. Naaman then showed great appreciation for what God had done for him through the prophet by deciding to worship only the God of Israel.
Are we people of gratitude or ingratitude? Do we thank God, our parents, relatives, friends neighbours, etc for the things they do for us or we consider what they do for us as a right? We need to learn to say to our parents: thank you dad/mum for all the sacrifices you make daily on my behalf. We need to thank God for all He is doing for us no matter what we may be going through. We can show this in various ways especially by being of help to others, offering masses, helping a needy child, doing your thanksgiving yearly in Church, a word of thanks a call, etc.
To be ungrateful is a mark of greediness. It's a sign that we always expect things to be done for us without a corresponding response. We should follow the example of the grateful leper and of Naaman. May the Lord help us in this journey from ingratitude to gratitude. Fr. Rinda
TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY OF O.T. YEAR C
(Amos 8:4-7; Ps 113:1bc-2, 4-6, 7-8; 1 Tim 2:1-8; Lk 16:1-13)
THEME: ACQUIRING GENUINE RICHES
There are millions of rich people out there whom we admire everyday and long even to be like them but their riches are not genuine. They have been rich overnight with stolen money, embezzlement, fraud, scamming, etc. We are exhorted today in the readings to strive to acquire genuine riches.
To get rich is the dream of everyone. Even if this dream is not deeply rooted in us or true about us, to have the means to take care of daily demands is what each one of us desire. To get rich in itself is not bad and I encourage each one of us to work hard to get rich. But we should not strive to get rich at all cost. If this is the case, we are bound to do whatever it takes to get rich even if that means killing others or joining cults that can help us in this regard.
In the first reading, we find a people who want to be rich at all cost. They are the business type. Instead of doing clean business, they go around cheating others and extorting from the poor. God had to raise the Prophet Amos to condemn their actions. The prophet says: "Hear this, you who trample upon the needy, and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, 'When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great, and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and sell the refuse of the wheat?" (Amos 8:4-6). There may be many of us thinking this way. Remember the warning of Amos from God to the people that he is surely never to forget such deeds and I dare add, punish us immensely for such deeds.
It is the same thing situation we find in the gospel, an unaccountable steward. Rather than do what he is supposed to do, he went about wasting his master's resources. When asked to render an acoount of his stewardship, he sought for favour before his master's debtors by reducing their debts in order to win favour so that after being thrown out of work, he might have a means of daily survival. He is therefore preparing to reap from where he did not sow.
Dear friends, we must learn to acquire true riches, riches that come from hard work. Some of us are lazy but want to get rich overnight and so do all sorts of funny things to meet this purpose. We must ale to heart the closing words of Jesus in the gospel of today that We cannot serve both God and mammon. It's not possible because there is bound to be partiality. Therefore we cannot serve both God and money. One must take precedence.
Today gives us an opportunity to see how we can return stolen money, money acquired through emblezzlement especially of state funds and projects. Let us return what is not ours to the rightful owners. I can imagine: if government officials and directors of private and state establishments return all stolen money back to Cameroon, how rich this country will be.
May we strive daily to acquire genuine riches and ask God to forgive us for the many times we have enriched ourselves from what is not ours especially for the graces to restore the harm caused. Fr. Rinda.
SOWING THE WORD: TWENTY -THIRD SUNDAY IN O.T. YEAR II
(Wis 9:13-18; Ps 89:3-6, 12-14, 17; Phl 9-10, 12-17; Lk 14:25-33)
THEME: COUNTING THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP
The readings of today are very very practical and fit perfectly with our own day to day life experiences. To achieve something in life, we must be able to sit down and count the cost of what we want to do and see if we are up to the task or not. If we are up to the task, then we can go ahead, otherwise we drop it.
The readings of today in this light encourage us to count the cost of discipleship before we make up our minds to be disciples of Christ. When we look at Mt 7:21-23, Jesus tells us that a true disciple is one who does the will of his Father in heaven. So to count the cost of true discipleship is to find out how one can conveniently do the will of God on earth.
For Jesus, a true disciple must be capable of the following qualities:
1. Capacity for renunciation especially renunciation of self. Renunciation has to do with complete dependence on God (Mt 6:25ff). Jesus himself expresses the need for renunciation before becoming his disciple when he says: "If any man comes after me without hating his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters, yes and his own life too, he cannot be my disciple" (Lk 14:26). This admonition is because family members and friends as well as the self May be the persons taking us away from living a life of true discipleship. If that is the case we must reject these for the sake of Christ.
2. Carrying of the Cross: A disciple of Christ is one who is willing and ready to carry his or her cross everyday and follow Christ. Christ makes this clear when he says: "Anyone who does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple" (Lk 14:27). Do we carry the crosses that come our way daily or we grumble about them?
3. Giving up all possessions: Man is natarally a grabber. He wants to grab more rather than give up what he or she has. We more or less behave like the rich young man in Mt 19:16-30. Can we give up even the little we have like the apostles in order to be disciples of Christ?
4. Forgiveness: This a true way of being a disciple of Christ even though it is so difficult, though not impossible a principle to follow in life. Many of us find it hard to forgive those who have hurt us and prefer sometimes to die rather than forgive. We must have a forgiving heart like Christ if we must be true disciples of his. This is what Paul recommends to Philemon concerning Onesimus who had stolen from his master and made away with the things. Philemon was able to forgive and receive Onesimus again as a brother.
Let us pray for the graces to be true disciples of God. Fr. Rinda.