There is no sacrifice without a reward

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(Tuesday 25th May 2021. Read Sirach 35:1-12, Psalm 50 and Mark 10:28-31)

“Peter began to say to him, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age– houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions– and in the age to come eternal life.’” (Mark 10:28-30)

When the rich young man walked away from Jesus sorrowfully, Peter recalled how he left his fishing business (with its hopes and promises of a comfortable life), how Matthew left his tax collection business, how James and John left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and how the other disciples also left family and possessions to follow Jesus. He exclaimed: “Behold, we have left everything to follow you.”

In his response, Jesus assured Peter that he had not made a bad choice. In fact, as Jesus puts it, no one who has left anything behind for the sake of the Gospel will go unrewarded. In truth, serving God requires a lot of sacrifice on our part but as long as our sufferings help to advance God’s kingdom on earth, we shall certainly not miss our reward.

In one of His parables, Jesus described the kingdom of God as a fine pearl which a man found buried in a field and he went and sold all he had just to buy that field. Serving God demands a lot of letting go. Writing to the Philippians, St. Paul remarks: “For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8).

The book of Sirach today speaks of the beauty of giving and offering sacrifices to God. It says: “Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed… glorify the Lord generously… with every gift show a cheerful face, and dedicate your tithe with gladness. Give to the Most High as he has given, and as generously as your hand has found. For the Lord is the one who repays, and he will repay you sevenfold.” (Sirach 35:4-11).

In as much as there is a reward for our gifts and sacrifices on God’s behalf, the book of Sirach is quick to warn: “Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it; and do not trust to an unrighteous sacrifice; for the Lord is the judge, and with him is no partiality.” (Sirach 35:12).

You may wonder, which gift would God find most pleasing today? The gift of our time spent in prayer and visitation to the Blessed Sacrament, the gift of our fasting especially from sin and the gift of our alms to the poor and the needy around us. These are great sacrifices and they are never without their reward.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me to trust you more than money. Amen.

Bible Study: Sirach 35:1-12, Psalm 50 and Mark 10:28-31).

Fr. Abu

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