Grace to you!
From the story of the encounter between Saul (the first king of Israel) and Samuel, the prophet, in 1 Samuel 15, we could differentiate two classes of people in the faith life. There are those who believe they win divine favor by sacrificing something for the Lord, and those who believe the favor of faith life lies in obeying God.
Saul would represent those who believe that by offering sacrifices to the Lord, they have fulfilled their religious duties. There are many people who are like Saul. For them, true religion rests in making or offering sacrifices for the Lord.
We acknowledge that gestures such as prayers, worship, almsgiving or works of charity, etc., are wonderful gestures of faith life. The Lord commends them.
However, they are not to replace the primary call to serve the Lord, to obey God. “Obedience” Samuel tells Saul, “is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam 15:22). The prophet Samuel isn’t denying the power of sacrifice; rather, he is showing us that there is better merit in doing the will of the Lord, obeying God.
We cannot manipulate God by our sacrifices. God can’t be manipulated. We can’t be justified because we gave alms or made sacrifices for the Lord. We will be justified if we believe and do the will of God.
When God speaks, we ought to listen. Listening to God, which is another way of saying obeying God (since to obey is from the Latin word ab audire which means to listen or hear), is one of the fundamental steps to blessedness. We know it isn’t always easy to listen. We have our set ways of doing things. It gets uncomfortable when God’s Word directs us in an opposite direction.
Yet, it is in obeying God that we find peace. Obedience to God frees us from unnecessary worries. Obeying God is constantly being with the bridegroom, the Lord. Its treasure is far more than fasting or almsgiving.
Often, like the people who objected to the freedom of the apostles as they journeyed with Jesus and did not fast, we mistake faith life, the life of holiness, with the sacrifices people make for their faith. The Lord reminds us such sacrifices have their place, but not to replace being with the Lord, listening to him (see Mk 2:18-22).
Do you want to constantly grow in the ways of the Lord? Listen to His Word and obey His directives. There is no shorter way to heaven’s blessedness than to obey God.
I pray that we find in God’s Word, a guide to our steps and a light to our paths. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Monday Week 2 B: 1 Sm 15:16-22; Mk 2:18-22
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.