Peter said: ‘I have no silver and gold, but I give you what I have; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’” Acts 3:6.
The encounter between Peter and the lame man at the Beautiful gate speaks a lot of volumes to us. It tells us how we often take for granted the things that are of real value while we engage in endless pursuit of mere passing things.
When asked to give a definition of wealth, we are probably going to mention money, silver, gold, houses, landed properties, companies, investments and so on and so forth whereas our real wealth is beyond any of these.
The lame man begged for alms – he just wanted what would give him the next meal; he simply wanted that which would ensure his survival for the moment, he was too poor to see the bigger picture.
Is this not our story? Too often we get into our knees praying; begging God with tears in our eyes for alms; we ask for money; we ask for things we can see. And how sad we become when we don’t the money we are asking for, not knowing God actually answered our prayers by curing our paralysis instead.
The irony of the materially minded Christian can be reflected in the scenario of the lame man having been healed yet remains at the Beautiful Gate begging for silver and gold. We think it is only when we have money that we are blessed. We fail to count our blessings not because we cannot see them but because we don’t even know what our real blessings are.
Thanks be to God, Peter knew what he had. Peter honestly did not have money but he knew he had God. He was not ashamed of his poverty because he knew he had something more than wealth. Do I even know what I have? If I do, why do I feel bad when I don’t get paid, why do I look down on myself for not having as much money to spend, show off and waste like others?
Do I really know what I have as a catholic who receives Holy Communion virtually every day? Am I fully aware of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, in the Tabernacle, in the Altar and in the person of the priest?
Am I like the two disciples who were leaving Jerusalem in utter disappointment; walking away from the church because I did not get the financial miracle I was looking for; walking away from the church because my material expectations from Jesus were not met; walking away from the church because of the scandal of the cross? Do I feel disappointed that despite my religiosity I still have to suffer?
Dear friends, just as Jesus explained to the two disciples the necessity of suffering in a homily which made their hearts burn within them, Jesus is saying to us this morning that we should never be discouraged when we have to suffer the loss of material things despite our closeness to God. Jesus did not come to take over power from the Roman authorities, No! He came for something bigger than that. Jesus did not die for us on the cross so that we can have all the silver and gold in this world, No! He came to show us our real home; heaven!
Value your real treasures; your work of charity, the lives you make better, your faith in God, your knowledge of how close God is to you in the Holy Eucharist, your ability to pray for the sick, your ability to see the face of Christ in those in need – these are your treasures and trust me, they are worth more than all the gold and silver in the world.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, open my eyes to really see what I have. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of Easter Octave. Bible Study: Acts 3:1-10 and Luke 24:13-35).*