Memorial of Saint Philip Neri, priest
(Sirach 35:1-12; Mark 10:28-31)
According to a folk-saying, life is God’s gift to us; what we make of our lives is our gift to God. We can make a fitting gift to God by practicing works of mercy. It is said that St. Philip Neri was not bothered by calls from prayer to hear someone’s confession. Rather he thought of it as going “from Christ to Christ.” The first reading today from the Book of Sirach advises us to make use of our lives as sacrifices to God.
The book known as Sirach takes its name from the author, a man named Jesus, son of Eleazar, son of Sirach. It was written in Hebrew around the turn of the second century before Christ, and then translated into Greek by the author’s grandson. Its contents of moral instruction place the work in the Bible’s wisdom tradition.
Not too long ago many Catholics began their day with the “Morning Offering.” This was a prayer dedicating their “prayers, works, joys, and sufferings” to God. It remains a fitting expression of our appreciation to God for all the benefits bestowed on us.