17 Oct – Memorial for St Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop & Martyr
Ignatius (c. 50–107) was a convert from paganism to Christianity. He succeeded Peter as bishop of Antioch, Syria. He served during persecution of Domitian. During the persecution of Trajan, he was ordered to be taken to Rome to be killed by wild animals. On the way, a journey which took months, he wrote a series of encouraging letters to the churches under his care. He was the first writer to use the term The Catholic Church. He was an apostolic father and a martyr. His name occurs in the Canon of the Mass. Legend says he was the infant that Jesus took into his arms in Mark 9.
– Patron Saint Index
Since God had made him a promise, Abraham refused either to deny it or even to doubt it, but drew strength from faith and gave glory to God, convinced that God had power to do what he had promised. This is the faith that was ‘considered as justifying him.’ Scripture however does not refer only to him but to us as well when it says that his faith was thus ‘considered’; our faith too will be ‘considered’ if we believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, Jesus who was put to death for our sins and raised to life to justify us.
A man in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.’ ‘My friend,’ he replied, ‘who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.’
Then he told them a parable: ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.” But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?.” So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.’
A man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs
As I grow older, I find myself thinking more and more like the rich man in the Gospel. I find myself wondering how I can grow the numbers in my bank account. I’m asking myself if my current pay is sufficient and whether I was silly for leaving a job that would have left me much more financially secure. Especially when I realise that my parents are growing older and would someday require me to provide entirely for them, the pressure can be overwhelming sometimes. Amidst negotiating conversations with financial advisors and insurance agents, there’s also pressure to become financially literate so as to know which properties to buy and stocks to invest in. As such, the need to become financially secure is a strong one.
I think everyone would agree with me that while money is not the most important thing in life, it is important. Simply because without it, there is little we can do to provide for the people we love, much less survive. Hence, like the rich man, we lay out comprehensive plans for our long term wealth accumulation and eventual retirement. Indeed, most would agree that this is practical wisdom. That’s the way the system of the world works and we’re existing in the system. However, the problem begins when we’re too caught up with the pressures of providing that we forget about our true source of providence.
Today’s gospel passage is a comforting reminder to me – that the success of my life is not determined by my ability to provide a foolproof plan for myself financially. Rather than focusing entirely on building my financial security, it is my relationship with my Divine Provider that matters more. King Solomon knew this truth well. Proverbs 16:9 states that “the human heart may plan a course, but it is Yahweh who makes his steps secure”. Another version states that “in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”.
In times of financial difficulty, rather than spending my time worrying, I am reminded to find my security in Him instead – by learning more about Him and building my relationship with Him. When our focus is right, everything else falls in place. Our hearts must first be in the right place. Psalm 37:5 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart”. When our attention is focused on God, we can rest assured that he hears our every prayer. Our needs are ever before Him, and he answers them (Matthew 6:25-34). Even when the world is in crisis, we can trust in our God to keep us safe.
Let me share with you a testimony. A friend of mine once got into a bad deal in his business. His business partner took a huge sum of money and absconded, resulting in a huge loss to his company. He initially contemplated taking the debtor to court but after consulting the Lord, he decided not to take that course of action and waived the debt instead. Despite his financial woes, his heart found peace as it rested securely in God instead. The Lord subsequently prospered his business and he soon recovered twice the amount that he had lost. Some years later, his wife, while praying, had a number flashed in her head. Being sensitive to the Spirit, she felt strongly prompted to dial the number. It turned out that the number belonged to the debtor, whom they had completely lost contact with. Imagine the debtor’s shock at how she had gotten hold of him! Rather than claiming the debt however, she informed him that the debt had long ago been waived and the grievance forgiven. This incident became so deeply etched in the couple’s mind that it became their personal testimony and guarantee of God’s faithfulness and divine providence in their lives!
Let’s be encouraged, my brothers and sisters, that no matter what our financial circumstances might be, our Lord has the power to deliver us. Let us find our peace and security in Him instead.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Cassandra Cheong)
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to rest securely in our relationship with you. Grant us the wisdom to manage our finances wisely and the faith to trust in your divine providence for all our needs. We pray especially for those of us and our loved ones who are in financial debts – deliver us Lord from our financial bondages and set us free from any habits that prevent us from living our lives fully in you.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord for all the blessings we have received and will receive, in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen!
Tue, 18 Oct – 2 Timothy 4:10-17; Luke 10:1-9; Feast of St Luke the Evangelist
Wed, 19 Oct – Romans 6:12-18; Luke 12:39-48; Memorial for Ss John de Brébeuf, Isaac Jogues, Priests, and Companions, Martyrs
Thu, 20 Oct – Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53
Fri, 21 Oct – Romans 7:18-25; Luke 12:54-59
Sat, 22 Oct – Romans 8:1-11; Luke 13:1-9
Sun, 23 Oct – Exodus 22:20-26; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Matthew 22:34-40; Thirteeth Sunday of Ordinary Time