WHAT CAN I DO?: A HOMILY ON SATURDAY, THIRD WEEK OF EASTER
Have you ever received so much from someone that you wonder what you can do for him in return? How about the gifts we have received from God? Sometimes I wish God has needs which can be fulfilled by me. The Psalmist today is asking the same question ‘How an I repay the Lord for His goodness to me?’. He gives the answer himself. He speaks of the cup of salvation which he will raise and call on the Lord’s name. This is the first way to reward God if there is anything like that. The Holy Mass is pure worship; worship at its best. What else can we do for God? But in our gospel, those who heard about this stopped following Jesus. He had told them they will eat His flesh and drink His blood.
He tells those who have remained that it is the spirit that gives life. The flesh has nothing to offer. In the flesh we often feel we can save the world. But we are nothing without God. We have nothing to offer anyone and we have absolutely nothing to offer God. If we are able to make any difference, it is only by the grace and mercy of God. I always wonder where those who stopped following Jesus had gone to. Where can they go and how can they survive without Jesus? Peter insists that those of them who remained have nowhere else to go.
Next the Psalmist says he will keep his vows to the Lord. We all have made promises on the day of our baptism, to reject satan and all his empty promises. Some of us have made vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Some have made marital vows. None of these is easy to keep and nobody can keep any of them without the grace of God. If you are wondering what you can do for God, it is not about performing signs and wonders. It is about being faithful to these little things. Then the Psalmist speaks of making a thanksgiving sacrifice. A thanksgiving sacrifice is what we see in the life of the saints. They did not live lives thinking of what they can get, but they all gave of the little they had. They made sacrifices for others. Peter and the disciples ministered to people and brought healing to them. We also see a woman called Dorcas or Tabitha who had died. The Psalmist says that the death of the faithful is precious in the eyes of God. Peter prayed for her and raised her from the dead. Before then he had cured Aeneas who was a paralytic. All these are only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.
So, when we wonder what we can do for anybody or how we can make a difference in the world, first we should know we have nothing to offer. But like in the case of Abraham, God Himself will give us what to offer and God will empower us and make it possible for us to offer. Even our gifts to God will be given to us by God. God has given so much to us. We have received so much from God. What can we give in return? The cup of salvation (Eucharist), keeping our vows (give God the gift of a holy life), and make your life that of sacrifice, but not just sacrifice, but a thanksgiving sacrifice. If you have received so much, give!