Grace to you!
Do you remember some of the promises you made to your Mom when you were a teen? Build her a mansion? Buy her a limousine? Take her on vacation to Hawaii once you received your first paycheck? Etc.? Promises!
A world without promises would be boring, I suppose. Promises thrill, at least in anticipation. They are like appetizers. Their potential surprises nourish and oil many friendships.
Promises are like hope, keeping our imagination on something yet to come, something we hope would be fulfilled. Such anticipations could sustain some people.
Promises, if kept, are reassuring as well as satisfying. They solidify relationships, build and maintain trust. Hence, it is crucial to be constantly aware of the kind of promises we make. If they are not met, the effect could be detrimental to us and how people look at us, notwithstanding how shattering it could be to victims.
The temptation to make bogus and unethical promises, especially when we are emotional or under the influence of alcohol, is high. Similarly, promises that presume we are in charge of the future have enormous disappointing implications.
There is a West African fable about the woodpecker. The bird bragged and promised that when the parent dies, it will peck down all the woods in their village forest to celebrate the parent's life during the funeral. Unfortunately, when the parent died, the woodpecker was suffering from a fractured beak. It couldn't peck down any woods.
Let's be careful of the promises we make. It's wise to know our limitations because unfulfilled promises make us look bad.
Similarly, promises that promote only our ego are often dangerous. Such was the most despicable promise made by King Herod the Tetrarch, in the Gospel of Matthew 14:1-12, that led to the beheading of the innocent man, John the Baptist.
Beware of promises that begin with "I will do anything for you . . .." Such promises are not only presumptuous, but they are also dangerous. Promise no one an absolute open blank check over which you have no control. Know your limits.
Remember, our words should be our bond, and our promises should not make us slaves either.
Keep to promises, but promise what is good, true and beautiful, and realizable.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday, Week 17 in Ordinary Time A: Lev 25:1, 8-17; Matthew 14:1-12]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu PhD., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.