One who keeps the law makes many offerings;
one who heeds the commandments makes an offering of well-being.
One who returns a kindness offers choice flour,
and one who gives alms sacrifices a thank-offering.
To keep from wickedness is pleasing to the Lord,
and to forsake unrighteousness is an atonement.
Do not appear before the Lord empty-handed,
for all that you offer is in fulfilment of the commandment.
The offering of the righteous enriches the altar
and its pleasing odor rises before the Most High.
The sacrifice of the righteous is acceptable,
and it will never be forgotten.
Be generous when you worship the Lord,
and do not stint the first fruits of your hands.
With every gift show a cheerful face,
and dedicate your tithe with gladness.
Give to the Most High as he has given to you,
and as generously as you can afford.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
As a Jesuit scholastic studying philosophy, one of the questions that constantly plagues me is “What is goodness?” Some of the ancient Greeks thought pleasure was the ultimate good. Other Greeks thought that tranquility and freedom from anxiety was goodness. In the modern period, Kant thought that goodness resides in our ability to rationally think about our actions. The problem with these conceptions, however, is that they all self-centered.
St. Ignatius teaches us in the First Principle and Foundation that we are created to “praise, reverence, and serve God.” Our Christian faith teaches us that our purpose as human beings is not self-centered. Rather, goodness is other-centered. Sirach says the same thing in our first reading. Goodness is ultimately what we do for the Lord. What am I doing for the Lord today?
Good and gracious God, help me to search out your goodness
In every person I meet today,
In every situation I encounter,
In any challenge I will face.
May your great goodness infuse everything
I speak and accomplish….for your greater glory. Amen.