Taking Care Of The Needs Of Others
1st Sunday of Ordinary Time
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
June 06, 2021
Deuteronomy 5: 6-21
2 Corinthians 4: 5-12
Christ said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He is with us today. His presence is here. He is a great loving God who restores and does not destroy. We are in Ordinary Time, the period that should guide us and strengthen every moment of our days. He will not put us to shame. God’s commandments are not heavy. We are the ones who make them heavy. We have compromised in so many things and made life complicated. Then we blame God when things go wrong. Not realizing that everything that God has given us is for our betterment.
The Gospel today talks about the Sabbath. We see here the disciples walking with Christ on the Sabbath. The Sabbath is a time that one could not travel long distances. They were going through a greenfield. There was a law in Deuteronomy 23 that said it was lawful for one to pick up something to eat if one gets hungry, he was not to bring it home but could pick up the grain to eat. The Pharisees saw this and started to question because it was the Sabbath. Jesus defends them by telling a story about David, that when he got hungry, he and his companions went into God’s house and ate the bread of the Presence. This bread was very special. There were twelve loaves. The wheat was not common. It was a special type of flour and was sifted many times so that it would be pure. This bread was not formed into a loaf, as we know it today. It was flat and large, not puffy and placed on a table of gold. At the end of the table was frankincense which added to its fragrance.
It was the Sabbath, but David ate this bread. There were several things that Christ is showing to us:
1) The needs of men are more important than the rituals.
2) The words God gave us are for our betterment. We gain by service to Him.
Proverbs 4: 20 -23 My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight. Keep them within your heart, for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Walking with God help keep us from getting diseases. If we walk in God’s ways, we will enjoy life. God’s life does not include sicknesses and disease.
Psalms 81:11-14 But My people did not listen to My voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.
We have not come to the point where we are fulfilling all that He wants us to do. This is why we create our own problems. People are saying Christianity has too many rules and regulations when it’s the exact opposite. When we walk in God’s ways, we will not be experiencing these negative things in our lives.
2nd Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
The Holy Spirit was given to us to empower us and strengthen us. We should be demonstrating the life of God during this Ordinary Time. Doing the things of God and giving attention to the needs of men. Just like the story of the Good Samaritan, where the need of man should be of priority. There was a priest who just passed by and did not help the wounded man, because he prioritized his temple duties. He was more concerned to not be late and perform his temple duties. This is what Christ is showing us. That when a need arises, it becomes more important than the rituals. We have this treasure in earthen vessels. God’s greatness and power is with us. It is God working in us and through us.
We have placed the things of this world in priority over the things of God. We do not have time for God. No time for devotion. We should let God be the priority in our lives first thing in the morning.
There is a story about the “4th wise man called Artaban. He was supposed to be with the three wise men. He took a sapphire, ruby and pearl with him which he was going to give the newborn king he was meeting. The three wise men told him not to be late. On the day that he was going to meet up with the three, he stops along the way to help a dying man so he missed the caravan. Since he couldn’t cross the desert with only a horse he is forced to sell one of his treasures, the sapphire, in order to buy camels and supplies needed for the trip. He arrives in Bethlehem too late because the parents and the child have already fled to Egypt. Along the way he saves the life of a child at the price of another of his treasures, the ruby. He then travels to Egypt and to many other countries searching for the Christ Child but performs many acts of charity along the way. After 33 years Artaban is still a pilgrim and arrives in Jerusalem where Christ was to be crucified. He spends his last treasure, the pearl, to ransom a young woman from being sold into slavery. The story goes to tell us that when he is about to die, A voice tells him, “Verily I say unto thee, inasmuch as thou has done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, thou hast done it unto me.” Artaban smiled in death because he knew that the King had received his gifts.
This story clearly and so vividly showed us the value of putting the needs of others first. Our priority is to help others in need, even a small grain of sand can become big in God’s kingdom. We must be sensitive to the needs of others when they arise, forgetting our own needs and thinking of others first.
Our worship of God is being manifested in being the instrument in helping others and giving in the right attitude. This is the first thing we should do during Ordinary Time – to take care of the needy. Worshipping God is more than just singing and dancing. It is love in action.