Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Today, in Mercy, our readings challenge us to consider what we might offer to God in return for all the good we have received.
When I was young, and on a stressful occasion still, I have been known to bargain with God. It goes something like this:
“Dear God, please, if You will only do X, I promise to do Y.”
The process reminds me of a game my Uncle Joe played with me when I was a toddler. He would give me some pennies to buy candy from him that he had just purchased at the corner store. He intended to teach me simple math. But I also learned what is was like to have resources, to possess buying power.
The glitch in the process was this: none of the resources really belonged to me. Everything belonged to Uncle Joe who allowed me to use his resources to learn and grow.
When we think about what we can offer God, it’s sort of a similar model. We have nothing that doesn’t first and already belong to God. We can give God nothing to “buy” God’s love and grace. God gives these freely and without restriction.
All that we really have to offer God is our love, demonstrated by our charitable actions. That’s what Sirach is talking about today.
In our Gospel, Peter – ever a guileless and simple soul – wants to make sure Jesus knows how much Peter has given up for God. Jesus affirms Peter’s offering, but says that God’s generosity exceeds it a hundredfold.
We live in loving relationship with an infinitely generous God. Our only currency in this relationship is the return of love, praise and thanksgiving.
When I regress to my bargaining stance with God, I think God smiles at me the way Jesus probably smiled at Peter. The smile says, “I am already giving you everything you need. Let yourself rest in Me.”
Music: To God Be the Glory ~ Andrae Crouch