October 2, 2022 – 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/100222.cfm)
Once a boy approached his mother and demanded: “Mom, may I ask now for your payment. Give me now my rewards and prizes”. The mom asked, “Payment, rewards, prizes? For what?” The boy replied, “for cleaning my room, for preparing the table, for washing the dishes, for passing all my grades, and for tending my brothers and sisters”. “Ahh, see”, the mother continued, “Son, for nine months I bore you in my wombs, for many sleepless nights worrying and taking care of you in your sickness, for washing all your clothes, for cooking your food, for making both ends meet for your food, clothing, and education – all of these things are done for free. I don’t expect payments, rewards, or bonus prizes, from you; not out of obligation but out of my special love for you.
Perhaps some of us may be like that boy, thinking and considering God – not as our Father or parent, but as our master or boss, whom we work for & who should repay and compensate us of all the good things we have done for Him in life.
Jesus in our Gospel today wants to correct this kind of mentality and perceptions. In Jesus times, this mentality of reward and punishment for human deeds and action has been a dominant theology of the Jews. When his disciples asked Him to increase their faith, here, Jesus clarifies to them that their requests must come and base from their deep faith and trust in God, and not in their expectation and aspiration to be rewarded and compensated for their good endeavors.
For Jesus, it is not right for us to put God in a situation that He is indebted to us, that He has the obligation and responsibility to repay us for our good deeds and to punish us for our wrongdoings. We cannot force or coerce God to grant us His gift of salvation. We have no right to demand payment, bonus prizes, or rewards for our deeds, because the salvation He grants us is not payment or even our wages for our performances & deeds, but His grace, His free voluntarily given gift to us. Meaning, our salvation does not depend on our deeds, but on God’s generosity – not on our performances but on His great love for us.
Consider then, Brothers and sisters, that God is our Father, our Parent – not our boss, our employer. We are His children, not His employees or workers. We know that children obey their parents because of their deep love and trust in them. We obey and love our parents not because of rewards and punishment but we choose to reciprocate the special love for us. Meaning, we don’t have to earn God’s love, because, like parental love, God has already loved us even in our sinfulness or even if we fail Him with our wrongdoings, and in whatever our performances in life maybe. We obey God’s commandments, we serve Him, not to earn His love, but because He already loves us, and because we love Him back in person and not out of benefits, payments, or rewards.
Brothers and sisters, our loving and generous God, as Parent always longs and hopes that we love and serve Him out of our love and faith, not out of obligation, fear and rewards or punishment. Our task now is to reciprocate God’s love with and by our deep love and faith for Him in person than just by services & functions.
Lord, grant us the grace to be contented with our Father’s Great Love for us His children, and of our child-like faith and love for Him. Keep our hearts & mind free to love & serve Him as we should & as we choose to be now and always…