Grace to you!
May I begin today’s reflection, a continuation of our discussion on grace, with a witty Igbo proverb. The Igbo tribe is one of the three major tribes in Nigeria. It’s my tribe too. The proverb comes to my mind as I ponder God’s word in the Gospel of Matthew 11:16-19.
In its question form, it is this: Kedu ka mmadu ga esi noro na mmiri ncha abaya anya. Meaning (not literal) “How ridiculous is it for someone to be in the pool of water and yet allow the bath soap to enter his eyes and cause irritation?”
The wisdom of this proverb is to underscore the senselessness of one not tapping an abundant opportunity. An available stream of water is abundant for a clean bath. Is it not? In a similar way, the fountain of God’s grace is superfluous for anyone who wants to live and lead a Godly life.
One shouldn’t see the beautiful light of day and choose to be in the dark all day. Nonetheless, the beauty of human life and nature, thanks to freedom, is that we are free to choose. Good or bad, it’s our preference.
God’s grace has been richly provided. Even by our nature, we are beneficiaries of what has been called nature grace. The fact of life and the nature beatitudes are already grace, though of a different kind. Whatever we enjoy in us and in nature is grace already enwrapped by Our Maker in the works of His hands.
I love this Psalm: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). Nature speaks to us, reinforcing the truth about the Maker.
However, the grace of redemption, that which makes us truly the redeemed of the Lord, isn’t nature grace but, as I have been discussing in the last nine days, it’s sanctifying grace. We continue to be revitalized by the continuous hands of providence through the actual graces of divine actions, and the different special graces we receive to be the best we can be, truly enlivened by the Lord.
When Jesus was on earth, his life, his works, his actions, the miracles he performed and all his words were packed with graces. They were abundant grace moments; graces that would make anyone come to the fullness of God’s love and life for them. Yet, some didn’t seem to notice or to open their arms to receive what was abundant. Hence Jesus denounced such attitude.
He declared: “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds” (Matthew 11:16-19).
On this Day 13 of Advent, how about we ask the Lord to grant us the discerning mind not to miss any grace-opportunities around us and by our way. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
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.