Friday 27 February 2015

Monday of Week 9 Year 1

Most of us would not have experienced major persecution or face danger to our lives. Most of us have some freedom to practise our faith and share our faith with others. During such times, we may sometimes become complacent and used to the peace and prosperity. But let us consider for a moment, if we were living in exile in some strange land, constantly facing danger of being caught and executed for our faith, what would we do? Would we stay strong to our faith, come what may? Or would we abandon our faith to save our skin?

In today's reading, we come across Tobit who said: "I, Tobit, have walked in paths of truth and in good works all the days of my life. I have given much in alms to my brothers and fellow countrymen, exiled like me to Nineveh in the country of Assyria." Even though Tobit was in exile in Nineveh, and even though the environment in Nineveh was hostile to Tobit and people of the same faith as him, Tobit was not afraid to practise his faith and be charitable to others. Upon discovering that a fellow countryman had been murdered and left at the market place, Tobit was willing to show solidarity with his brothers and fellow countrymen by taking away and burying the murdered countryman. Some of his neigbours even laughed and said, 'See! He is not afraid any more.' But Tobit was not affected by their taunts and went about doing charity to ensure that the murdered brother be given a decent burial.

Tobit was willing to take risks and put his life on the line, to show his faith. What about us? Are we willing to do the same, even in the midst of severe persecution? It is easy to say that we have faith and keep to ourselves, but as James reminds us in his Epistle: "What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works (James 2:14-18). Are we saying that we have faith only in mere words and nothing more? Or are we making effort to show our faith fearlessly?

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