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 a vacation to Hawaii once you received your first paycheck? Etc.? Promises! How many turned out to be true? How many were realized?
Many of us like to make promises. Sometimes, it makes us feel good or should I say, look good. But does it?
A world without promises would be boring, I suppose. Promises thrill, at least in anticipation. They are like appetizers. Their potential surprises oil many friendships. Like pleasant aromatic recipes, they are tantalizing.
Promises are like hope, keeping our imagination on something yet to come; something we hope would be fulfilled. Such hopeful anticipations could be a mental coping mechanism for some people.
Promises, if kept, are reassuring as well as satisfying. They solidify relationships, building trust. Establish integrity. Hence, it is important to be constantly aware of the kind of promises we make. If promises are not met, the effect could be negative on us and how people look at us, notwithstanding how shattering it could be to victims.
The temptation to make bogus 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 could have colossal disappointing implications.
There is a West African fable about the woodpecker. The bird bragged and promised that when the parent dies, it would peck down all the woods in their village forest for 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 for unfulfilled promises make us look really bad. Moreover, intentionally making promises we know we won’t or can’t keep is deceitful. It is unethical and sinful.
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; they are also dangerous. Promise no one an absolutely open blank check for what you have no control over. Know your limits.
Remember, our words should be our bond and our promises should not make us slaves.
Keep to promises, but promise what is good, true and beautiful and, what is realizable.
Praying that our word be good and gracious, as well be our bond. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday, Week 17 of the Ordinary Time: Jeremiah 26:11-16, 24; Matthew 14:1-12]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
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.