Price of Faith

January 29, 2023 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

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A story once told about a beggar who owns nothing but his tin rice bowl to beg. He is particularly ashamed of begging that he would just bow his head & cannot even look at the eyes of others. But poverty & hunger usually force him to bully others for some money & food to survive. Like any beggars, he hopes to be free from his situation & dreams of becoming rich & wealthy someday. But he knows that his dreams of better living is just wishful thinking for he owns nothing except his old and dirty tin rice bowl – which he just inherited from his poor grandparents. Yes, he considers himself useless, hopeless, & helpless. A nobody & nothing at all, who even blames God & his family for his sufferings & poverty in life.

Now while begging for some left-overs and coins in the market, one day a merchant approached him and asked to have a good look at his rice bowl. After examining his rice bowl, the merchant told him, “You idiot, you don’t have to beg. You should not beg at all because you are a rich person. Do you know that this rice bowl of yours is precious? This rice bowl is made of priceless gold. Just have this rice bowl clean and sell it to the highest bidder, you will be the wealthiest man in this town. You know what? If only I have money, I’ll buy it for 80 million dollars.” But the beggar just laughs off and would not believe what he heard from the merchant. He would not believe that his rice bowl is made of gold. That is why, until now, he continues to beg for alms from others… using his priceless golden rice bowl.

There are times in our lives that we become like that beggar. The Good news of Christmas and the whole Christian life simply proclaims to us how blessed we are for God has already offered us His life and his salvation through his son, Jesus Christ.

However, often at times we missed it, because we fail and even refuse to recognize the blessings, to the point that we do not accept the importance of the graces God has given us. It so happens that we are not contented with, and we even feel ashamed of God’s presents. Pre-occupied with our own selves, our own concerns, biases, and expectations, mostly we are blinded from the value and sacredness of God’s graces and blessings given us. 

This is what our readings are trying to tell us today. It wishes to remind us, especially Jesus in our gospel today, that we should be awake and be aware that people who are poor, humble, helpless, weak, oppressed, and most abandoned find favor in God’s eyes. Because of their deep faith and need for God, and their acknowledgement of Jesus, as God’s gift, they are blessed and worthy of God’s kingdom.

In our gospel today, we hear the Beatitudes. Jesus announced how blessed already we are – not for being poor, humble, helpless, mourning, weak and abandoned, but because God finds favor in us. We are blessed then because of God’s gift of our faith in Jesus, and not because of our poverty, humility, weakness, persecution, and abandonment. As our world prefers wealth, popularity, power, & prestige, we are reminded that God rather chooses & favors people of great faith and trust in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.   

Here, Jesus encourages us to recognize and have confidence on the value of our Christian faith in life. God has already given us our Christian faith – our way of life and salvation. We must not downgrade it but instead, recognize and value its importance into our lives today. Jesus reminds us that Blessed are we and those who welcomes and follows Him for God has already endowed us with enough faith to redeem us & live our lives meaningful now & always.

Remember his first message proclaimed: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand” that is – Change your ways… not because of our sins and mistakes but because God’s grace is here with us now. In other words, “Behave for God’s grace is Here with You”. And Now Jesus is telling us the Beatitude – proclaiming how blessed and lucky we are  -not only because we behave well, but also because God finds favor on us who have faith & trust in His son & have welcome Him into our life.

Through the Beatitudes, Jesus is somehow proclaiming to us how Blessed and Fortunate we are who owns and treasure our golden rice bowl of faith for we are already in God’s favor. In other words, Worthy, Blessed and Fortunate are we who willingly welcome, value, and believe in Jesus, God-given gift of salvation to us, for God’s kingdom is already & always upon us. Priceless then is our Christian faith in Jesus for God finds favors in us, who believes & trusts in Him.

Perhaps we consider these days on how maximize of own rice-bowl of faith. Do we make use of our faith just to beg… OR to honor & value Him who offers & presents us God’s favor?

We pray then that we must learn how to see, recognize, accept, and treasure our God-given Christian faith now & always.


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