JESUS, MASTER! HAVE PITY ON US!
So often I am reminded of how funny life can be when we see ourselves through the eyes of another or in a different light. Just the other day, a good friend of mine (who is a year older) came with his beloved bride and in-laws to join me for breakfast at a local restaurant. I had arrived before them and told the server others would join me. When they came in they saw me at the table and just made a b-line to me (pun intended) and sat at the table next to me. No sooner had they done that when the waitress came to him and said, “Why are you sitting there, won’t you be sitting with your son?” (Yes she thought my friend who was a year older was my father). He broke up laughing thinking that she was referring to his brother-in-law who IS older. His wife was good enough to enlighten him and said, “No honey she meant you, not our brother-in-law.” My oh my, did I have something sweeter to eat for that breakfast! I, of course, remained humble and kind… after, we all broke up laughing and of course I might have called him “Dad.” Today’s Sunday readings are more important than just finding humor from a waitress, they are tender reminders of the vital call to find thanks and praise in all things, whether they fit into our view of things or not. It’s about being a people of gratitude. Biblical gratitude is more than being polite. It is more than a nice gesture or a sign that your Mama raised you right. Gratitude is about relationships. Gratitude recognizes that there is a debt to be paid. Gratitude is the fundamental stance of one who knows God. The more aware we are of God’s love, the more grateful we become. The more grateful we become, the more our hearts can open to an awareness of God’s gifts. Archbishop Daniel Pilarcyzk wrote an article about gratitude in the life of a Christian. He says that gratitude calls us to do more than give thanks. It requires us to “live thanks” – to embrace a way of life that offers hope to others. Gratitude demands that we return our gifts for God’s glory and share our blessings with a broken world. Gratitude is a way of witnessing to the Truth. It is not always simple or easy or uncomplicated. Gratitude does not prevent pain or protect us from loss. It does not spare us from life but rather, puts our lives in a context of celebration – no matter what happens along the way. Whether it’s gifts like Elisha was being called to receive on behalf of the Lord, the healing from leprosy or any other diseases, or having to live with a longterm illness we can’t seem to find a cure, Jesus is the only One who heals and saves. Only one leper came back to give thanks to Jesus. Today, focus on words of praise and not the tearing down of another. Build up hope and don’t fall for the enemy’s lie of misery and hopelessness. Take a look in the mirror, not at what you think looks wrong, spotted or wrinkled… ask The Father to show you the beauty of how He sees you. Listen to Him and know you are the one He loves because He made you for His own! Isn’t that enough reason for you to praise Him? Pax, Fr. Bline