LOOK AT JESUS, LOOK TO THE POOR – 5

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

OUR THEME FOR 2015

(Part 34)

LOOK AT JESUS, LOOK TO THE POOR – 5

June 6, 2015

Today’s reading:  Tobit 12:1-20

“Prayer with fasting is good. Almsgiving with righteousness is better” (v.8a). We look at Jesus as we engage in prayer, with the fruit of ongoing prayer a life of righteousness. But we also look to the poor and give alms. Giving alms is not just doling out petty amounts to beggars, but indicates a wider work with the poor.

Spiritual and social. Holiness and justice. Salvation and liberation. Two aspects of the Christian life that always go together. Such is the key to living a life under the protection and care of God. “Do good, and evil will not overtake you.” (v.7b).

A good Christian is one who helps the poor. On the other hand, work with the poor helps one to become a better Christian, to become holier, as “almsgiving …. purges all sin.” (v.9a). Further, work with the poor, in Tobit’s case burying the dead, helps bring our prayers to God. By special messenger, as in the archangel Raphael. “Now when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed it was I who presented the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and likewise whenever you used to bury the dead.” (v.12).

Heartfelt work with the poor indicates our readiness to enter more deeply into our life in Christ. And so God might allow hardships and challenges and suffering into our lives to test us. “When you did not hesitate to get up and leave your dinner in order to go and bury that dead man, I was sent to put you to the test” (v.13-14a). Suffering purifies. Hardships draw us closer to God. The cross hones our faith to perfection.

At the same time, God will always be there for us. We may be given special attention by having an archangel assigned to us. But however things are, in God’s time His help will come. “At the same time, however, God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah.” (v.14b).

Look at Jesus, look to the poor. Spiritual and social. It will be difficult. There will be oppression and even persecution. But God will always be there for us. “Do not fear; peace be with you! Bless God now and forever.” (v.17).

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