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Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Charity: The Power of True Faith

A mother and her two kids had just arrived at Penn Station, Newark to board their train to Philadelphia. While they were waiting for he train to arrive, the boys wanted to buy some candy from the candy nearby. Mum gave them some money and off they went. Within a short time, the younger of the two boys came back to mummy asking for money to buy candy. Mum was furious and demanded to know what happened to the money she gave to him. The young boy told her: “I gave it to Jesus”! Mum looked at him with a stern look and dragging him by the hand, said: “You better show me that Jesus right now”! The kid took her to the side of the candy store and pointing to a homeless man sitting on the floor, said, “I gave it to him”. Today’s readings make a clear statement: true worship is more than religious ritual, going to Church every Sunday, fasting, and reading the Word of God. God doesn’t want us getting all pious when we have unforgiven sins in our heart, when we feel wrath and rage against others, when we look down upon others and steal joy from their lives. In the book of Tobit, we read about Archangel Raphael who said: “Praying and fasting are good, but better than both is charity with righteousness”. The truth is that genuine compassion for the oppressed, the marginalized, and the helpless is very pleasing to God. It wipes out a multitude of sins, keeps the face of God focused on us, opens the gates of heaven for salvation and keeps our relationship with God on the right path. While it is true that we cannot be saved without faith in Christ Jesus, our faith will lack sincerity and authenticity if it doesn’t reach out to others. What God wants of us is that our fasting and prayer must go beyond our own personal growth and reach out to acts of kindness, charity, justice, and generosity. Acts of kindness go beyond giving money. We can give joy, happiness, edification, upliftment, encouragement, time, talent, presence, listening ear, compassion, etc. to others. As Scripture says, we are the hand of God for those in need.

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