Grace to you!
History repeats itself. Many of our concerns today were concerns for distant past generations. There may be different characters, key players and cultural products in the plots, but we deal with basically similar sorts of issues. Nothing is new under the sun.
A college student would say to his dad or mom or grandparents, this is old stuff. Our generation has grown past your ideas. The child doesn’t know the parent has seen it all and was there before. Nothing is new under the sun.
Recently, I shared with some friends how many things we see happening in our society today, many of the things some call progressive ways of life, had happened before, hundreds to thousands of years ago. Nothing is new under the sun.
In the mid-sixties, a new style of Christianity was championed built on the principles that reinterpreted sacrifice on the cross to mean only glory. In fact, by the 1980s through the nineties, the gospel was measured by the wealth of the believer. It is the so-called prosperity gospel. People gulped it as if they gulped water. It is still strong in many parts of the world. Why? Because many believe that if you follow God, you shall not be materially poor. Some called it a new way of making the gospel relevant.
Did you know that over 2500 years ago, the same concerns were the concerns of the people of Israel who returned from the Babylonian captivity? The book of prophet Malachi (the last book of the Old Testament, one of the minor prophets) was, in part, written to address a situation of this kind?
For many of those who were returned through divine intervention to their land in Jerusalem, they believed their freedom implies material prosperity. They kept the commandments and even paid their tithes. Yet, they observed that many who didn't care about God prospered, while many of the faithful weren’t prosperous.
Thus, they started to grumble against the Justice of God. “’It is vain to serve God. What is the good of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the Lord of hosts? Henceforth we deem the arrogant blessed; evildoers not only prosper but when they put God to the test they escape’” (Mal 3:14-15). Nothing is new under the sun.
The Lord's response through Malachi is spot-on even for our concerns today: "They shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my special possession..." (Mal 3:17). God was reminding the faithful, that they will be His special possession.
Of course, this prophecy refers to the time of Christ. It’s our time when divine promise is fulfilled in Christ and the Holy Spirit sent as our Special Counselor, to comfort and to guide us.
It speaks, too, to the kind special blessing fidelity to God ushers. To be God’s special friend through the Holy Spirit is the best blessing ever. So, our ultimate blessing is to see God and totally be His. Material prosperity, while it is always a welcome blessing, may or may not occur.
So, as a believer, whether things are going well for you or not, keep faith anyway. The Lord reassures: “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Lk 11:13). With the Holy Spirit, you are safe and secure.
May God give us the insight to know what is most important in life and trust in providence. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday Week 27 A: Mal 3:13-20b; Lk 11:5-13]
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.