Bless the Lord
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name…and do not forget all his benefits.” Psalm 103: 1,2
God’s Word invites us to enter into the dynamics of the Kingdom of heaven. We might ask ourselves what the entry point into the kingdom might be. The psalm sums it up for us: gratitude. We are invited to reflect on all the blessings God has given us: creation, life, family, gifts, talents, friends….the list can go on and on! As we recognize those blessings we can’t help but be grateful and bless God’s name for the generosity that has enriched our lives.
Jesus often speaks of God’s Kingdom and invites us into the life of the Kingdom. That invitation is also a gift and blessing. We have done nothing to merit or earn life in the Kingdom – it is God’s free gift to us. If we pay lip service to life in the kingdom, Sirach warns us we fall into the trap of anger, resentment and vengeance.
That is also the point of the gospel parable. The debt that has been forgiven is unimaginably huge and the king had to have been immensely wealthy and was beyond generous. The servant who was forgiven the huge debt had no way of ever repaying the debt but when he was forgiven, did the kings’ generosity have any effect in his life? No. He went out, still filled with greed, anger, vengeance and a lack of compassion. Peter’s question about forgiveness sets the stage for Jesus to launch into the parable. And the parable is about living as true members of the Kingdom, living out of gratitude.
Gratitude is never something that exists in isolation. Rather, true gratitude is the catalyst for action, the foundation for attitudes and the entry point of living fully in the Kingdom. We know from our own human experience that when we receive a gift, our natural reaction is to give thanks, often by offering a gift in return. What gift can we offer to God out of gratitude for the many gifts God has given us?
The first response or gift we can offer is to live a life of discipleship, being formed by the Word of God, living out our call to share the gifts of reconciliation, healing, compassion, peace and joy. We can offer a life formed by the Beatitudes and the Parable of the Last Judgement (being poor, thirsting for justice, being merciful, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc.). Gratitude also calls us to grow in our relationship with God through a life of prayer and celebration with our faith community. It also means developing relationships with others, sharing our faith, lives, gifts and talents. Gratitude calls us to serve our sisters and brothers.
As we live all these things, we are also challenged to reflect on our own particular vocation or path in life to which God has called us. Whether the vocation is to marriage, the single life, religious life or priesthood, if our response is grounded in and flows out of gratitude, then we can joyfully commit ourselves to living that particular call. If we are living in gratitude, then responding to and living the call of God is a source of peace and joy, not just for ourselves but for those around us as well.
By Richard Beaudette, OMI
Vocation Team – East