Grateful Living, Joyful Giving

Grateful Living, Joyful Giving

October 22, 2017 | N W | Blessings, Father Salvador, Generosity, Joy, Love, Thanksgiving

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 22, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Is 45:1, 4-6 / Ps 96 / 1 Thes 1:1-5B / Mt 22:15-21
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor

When I was still in the seminary, I was asked by our Rector to give an invocation to a retirement party, because he wasn’t feeling well, and none of the seminary priests was available. So I went to a gathering where no one had invited me or expected me.

I didn’t know anybody there, not even the host of the party. For a few minutes, I felt lost. In fact, I was contemplating leaving, and I was pretty sure no one would notice and figured they could just pray and bless themselves.

But suddenly, somebody with a very friendly voice called me by name. I didn’t know him, but for some reason, he knew me. In fact, he knew that I was there to give the invocation during the program instead of our seminary Rector, and he introduced me to the host of the party. The presence of one person there who knew me, in a group of strangers, made me feel welcome.

In today’s first reading, which is taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah, the Lord God said to Cyrus, “For the sake of Jacob, my chosen one, I have called you by name, giving you a title, though you know me not.” My dear brothers and sisters, Cyrus is a pagan king. He surely doesn’t know the God of Israel, but God knows him, and he even gave Cyrus a mission to bring His people out of exile.

In last Friday’s gospel reading, which was taken from the Gospel of Luke, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid.” Even though we now have more than 7.5 billion people in the world today, God knows us individually. We don’t need to tell Him who we are, what we are, and what the most important things in our lives are at the present moment, because He knows us more than we know ourselves.

The good news is that God doesn’t only know us, but He loves us unconditionally. He continues to reach out to us because He wants us to experience not only temporary happiness, but joy that will last forever.

Last night before I went to bed, I talked on the phone to the happiest person I know: my 102-year-old mother. Although she could hardly hear me on the phone, I just enjoyed listening to her always thanking God for everything. Her attitude of gratitude is one of her formulas for living a happy and contented life.

This past week, we started the program, “Joyful Living, Grateful Giving,” although I’d like to mix these four words a little bit today and call it “Grateful Living, Joyful Giving,” instead. If we are grateful for everything the Lord God has given us, we’ll surely live joyfully, and once we are aware of how many blessings we have, it is natural for us as God’s children to give back part of our time, talents, and treasures to our creator and our God.

During the next three weeks, we will be praying together the “Joyful Living, Grateful Giving” prayer during the Mass. We will ask the Lord to teach us to be grateful and learn how to count the blessings in our lives. We’ll ask Him to give us enlightenment that we may be aware of the fact that He is the source of our joys and ask Him to guide us to be generous. For Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke, “Give, and gifts will be given to you.” Let us pray:

Send your spirit upon us Lord, to teach us to be grateful and generous with praise, kindness, and love for Your every blessing in our lives. You have blessed each of us in many ways: family, friends, gifts, talents, and so much more. You are the source of our joys and the provider of all things good. Guide us to the Holy Spirit. Help us share a portion of our gifts so that we may as a parish realize our vision to walk as followers of Jesus Christ, dedicated to peace, respect, and generosity. Grant this through our Lord Jesus, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.