10 June 2017
When the feasting was over, Tobit called his son Tobias and said, ‘My son, you ought to think about paying the amount due to your fellow traveller; give him more than the figure agreed on.’ So Tobias called his companion and said, ‘Take half of what you brought back, in payment for all you have done, and go in peace.’
Then Raphael took them both aside and said, ‘Bless God, utter his praise before all the living for all the favours he has given you. Bless and extol his name. Proclaim before all men the deeds of God as they deserve, and never tire of giving him thanks. It is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right to reveal and publish the works of God. Thank him worthily. Do what is good, and no evil can befall you.
‘Prayer with fasting and alms with right conduct are better than riches with iniquity. Better to practise almsgiving than to hoard up gold. Almsgiving saves from death and purges every kind of sin. Those who give alms have their fill of days; those who commit sin and do evil, bring harm on themselves.
‘I am going to tell you the whole truth, hiding nothing from you. I have already told you that it is right to keep the secret of a king, yet right too to reveal in worthy fashion the works of God. So you must know that when you and Sarah were at prayer, it was I who offered your supplications before the glory of the Lord and who read them; so too when you were burying the dead. When you did not hesitate to get up and leave the table to go and bury a dead man, I was sent to test your faith, and at the same time God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. I am Raphael, one of the seven angels who stand ever ready to enter the presence of the glory of the Lord.
‘Now bless the Lord on earth and give thanks to God. I am about to return to him above who sent me.’
In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’
He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’
“But she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had.”
When we think of the resources at our disposal, two come to mind most prominently – Time and Money. How we commit either speaks volumes about how we view our priorities. Time, especially, becomes more valuable as we get older. There are more commitments fighting for space in our day. We have more responsibilities. But not everything that is urgent, is important or even necessary. My biggest hurdle on weekends is to find time to go to church. There are 5 masses on Sundays at my church, 6 if you count the Saturday evening mass. So it’s funny that trying to find the time to attend weekend mass should be such a challenge. Is it because I don’t make it a non-negotiable priority? My mother goes to mass like clockwork on weekends. She’s committed to it and has made it part of her routine. Wouldn’t it actually be easier if I made the same level of commitment as well? Then I wouldn’t waste so much time agonizing over it?
The woman from the gospel who gave from her poverty reminds us of the value of prioritizing correctly. She looked beyond her present life and gazed into the everlasting. Most of us see only this life, and all the things that we could be doing instead of being at church. Taking the long view though, most of the things that compete for our time will fade away – our jobs, the dinner parties we think are so indispensable, our fair weather friends, the endless charities we sponsor. All these will come to nothing in the end – only God remains. At the gates of reckoning, it won’t be enough to say we couldn’t do the right thing because it wasn’t convenient at the time. Or that we weren’t able to walk away from that conference call to spend an hour with Our Father. Those excuses are feeble even now, never mind at the gates of Heaven. When has God ever said, “It isn’t convenient for me to hear your prayers at the moment” or “Can we take a raincheck, I’m tied up with something else right now”? He meets us when we call, wherever we are; He is always just a prayer away. What kind of children are we to only come to Him when we need something?
(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for the wisdom to portion our time and money wisely, between God’s needs and our needs.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the Holy Spirit, who comforts us, calms us and aids our faith journeys, wherever we stand.