1 He who keeps the law makes many offerings; he who heeds the commandments sacrifices a peace offering.2 He who returns a kindness offers fine flour, and he who gives alms sacrifices a thank offering.3 To keep from wickedness is pleasing to the Lord, and to forsake unrighteousness is atonement.
4 Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed,5 for all these things are to be done because of the commandment.
6 The offering of a righteous man anoints the altar, and its pleasing odor rises before the Most High.7 The sacrifice of a righteous man is acceptable, and the memory of it will not be forgotten.
8 Glorify the Lord generously, and do not stint the first fruits of your hands.
9 With every gift show a cheerful face, and dedicate your tithe with gladness.
10 Give to the Most High as he has given, and as generously as your hand has found.11 For the Lord is the one who repays, and he will repay you sevenfold.
12 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.
28 Peter began to say to him, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you.”29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.31 But many that are first will be last, and the last first.”
THE PROPHET SIRACH deals with the matter of offerings or sacrifices known by the Hebrew word ‘Karbanot’ which were generally part of the temple rituals performed by the priest. The primary purpose of relinquishing an animal is a kind of chastisement of the giver who desire God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Given that the Sacrifical offerings is a commandment, the believer may not approach God empty handed precisely because all Gods people suffer some kind of affliction that require healing and forgiveness.On the other hand the people should not attempt to induce God in order to win His favor!
Sacrificial offerings were to be given with joy and cheerfulness which shall bring much reward. Sirach’s elucidation of the prescriptions of the OT Sacrifical offerings foretell the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist which brought to completeness God’s work of grace in Jesus Christ.
St MARK’S discourse follow on from a rich man who enquired “what he must do to inherit eternal life.” Whilst this righteous man had a well-formed moral conscious he hanged his head in shame when our Lord exposed his appetency and love of wealth and his refusal to give it all to the poor and follow Christ! Speaking on behalf of the twelve, Peter proudly affirm that they have made a vow of chastity, poverty and obedience to Christs teachings to truly have a singleminded relationship with God alone!
These three vows are not optional but are mandated by the Church when priests and religious sisters and brothers are called to be in service of God in and through His Church. To be sure, this kind of self-sacrifice is not a bribe to gain eternal life, moreover these men and women are called to ‘give their lives to Christ’ as a sacramental sacrifice, even unto death in order to bring households and nations to salvation in Christ Jesus. We acknowledge that within the fold are men and women, like us the laity whose lives do not comport with the vows we have made to our Lord Jesus Christ be it in our call to marriage and priesthood in the seven sacraments. We cannot bargain our way to heaven if we refuse to give up disorders, desires and false doctrines of man that contridict Christ’s and His Church’s teachings!
LET US PRAY: Psalms 50:5-8,14,24
5 “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!”
6 The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! [Selah]
7 “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.
8 I do not reprove you for your sacrifices; your burnt offerings are continually before me.
14 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High;
23 He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me; to him who orders his way aright I will show the salvation of God!”
Author. Henry R SYLVESTER Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days.
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