DON'T BE A PREMATURE CHRISTIAN! GROW UP! Prayer Reflection for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Yr. A.

This is not an insult! It's an advice! 
Some time ago someone contacted me for mentoring and said: "Father I need counselling on how to manage my finances. I work and earn well but cannot account for it, and before the month ends, I am in debts. It disturbs me, and my spouse is also complaining and asking what I do with my money." Child of God, situations like this  explains part of what plagues us and affects our christian faith. Sometimes our problems do not come from lack of resources but mismanagement of resources. This problem could be psychologically related to some fixations/bad habits; or spiritually connected to some evil machinations to make you wasteful, or remain poor and wretched. If you are in doubt read slowly: 

Philippians 4:12-14,19-20
I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength. All the same, it was good of you to share with me in my hardships. In return my God will fulfil all your needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can. Glory to God, our Father, for ever and ever. Amen.

1. One of the signs of Christian maturity is Contentment and resource management hence St. Paul says: I know how to be poor and I know how to be rich too. Contentment is the state or degree of being satisfied or happy in one's situation; while by resource management I mean the ability to manage resources so as to avoid waste. When one lacks this maturity, it manifests in the sins of Greed and Gluttony. It is hard to hear these sins confessed today at the confessional because people no longer see it as sin (and this is a satanic trick), but they are mortal sins and form part of the seven capital sins we must avoid. They are deadly because they separate one from God's saving grace if one does not repent from them before death. They make the soul filthy, void of Divine presence and vulnerable to satanic influence and manipulations.

2. The ability to master your desires and control it makes you mature Physically and Spiritually. Physically it helps you avoid wastes. It helps you spend on what you truly need and gives you the opportunity to do Charity, rather than amass properties that you will never use, but pile up only for the pleasure of having it. Many are guilty of this: they buy shoes, clothes, phones, etc, but never use them nor give them out. Some spend their money on pleasures, following fashion and trendy things but have little or nothing to spend when their real needs arise; only to go about borrowing and building up debts for themselves and their family. Spiritually it makes one far from God for such a person feels God's blessings only when there's plenty resources or money to spend. But when there's little or none they relapse into despair and faithlessness.
3. These sins (Greed and Gluttony) are blinders. They blind us from what we truly need, and then we pursue shadows in the name of pleasure. They blind one from the needy and the poor, hence one wastes resources. When we are blinded by these sins we feel very comfortable wasting resources and give flimsy excuses for our wastefulness. We feel so comfortable like the guests who did not respond to the King's invitation to the Wedding feast. They felt unconcerned that he had spent much to get the wedding prepared. They feel comfortable even if he must waste resources created by their negligence. The Bible tells us in Matthew 22:1-14 that:

The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding. He sent his servants to call those who had been invited, but they would not come. Next he sent some more servants. “Tell those who have been invited” he said “that I have my banquet all prepared, my oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, everything is ready. Come to the wedding.” But they were not interested...

[If you are interested in the theme of Banquet present in the First reading and gospel of this Sunday then see my post on Is God's Banquet Truly Free?]

4. Child of God are you such a person that does not know how to manage your resources and complain to God for not having enough? Or you give excuses for wasting the resources that God has blessed you with? Remember even if God has blessed you with much, he calls you to be responsible with it because you shall someday render an account of all, otherwise you will be treated like the man who entered the feast without a wedding garment: you will be bound hand and foot, and thrown into the dark where there is weeping and grinding of teeth (c.f Matt. 22:14).

TASK: Take a good look at the pictures below:

The ones on the left were the pride of their time, but now cannot be reckoned with because they have taken newer forms, so also will the ones on the right be with the passage of time. Therefore be wise in your spending, what is trending now will be outdated tomorrow! Spend on necessary things, and teach your children contentment and how to manage resources so that in the days of lack, to persevere won't be difficult. And remember also, God's gifts are free but they must be used responsibly. 

Pray Psalm 131 now and ask God to pardon you if you are guilty of these. May the Lord hear your humble prayers, and renew your Spirit in Jesus name. Amen.

© Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ

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