Father Edward Hopkins, LC
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Jesus said to the apostles:
"Who among you would say to your slave who
has just come in from plowing or tending sheep
in the field, ´Come here at once and take your
place at the table´? Would you not rather say
to him, ´Prepare supper for me, put on your apron
and serve me while I eat and drink; later
you may eat and drink´? Do you thank the slave
for doing what was commanded? So you also, when
you have done all that you were ordered to
do, say, ´We are worthless slaves; we have done only
what we ought to have done!´"
Introductory Prayer: Jesus,
I believe in you, my Lord and my Creator!
You have given me everything, and you owe me nothing.
You have forgiven me everything when I owed you
more than I could ever pay. I trust in
your forgiveness and love, Lord.
Petition: Jesus, help
me to be grateful to you.
1. Proud Attitudes: How often
are we offended by how others treat us, by
a lack of gratitude, respect or appreciation? However justified
the reactions of our sensitivity, what lies at the root
of our complaints is pride. Looking out from my
own broken creaturely condition, I can’t help but see
myself for more than I am and expect more respect
from everyone – including God. Yet, before God I
am but a poor, tiny and dependent creature. From
him I receive all that I am and need. How
can I demand anything from him? Even worse, how
can I complain when I recognize that I am an
ungrateful sinner who has denied the rights and love
of my Creator?
2. The Fundamental Relationship: Our culture has become
one of “entitlement.” We view ourselves as having rights
– “just” expectations –, and we expect that much is
owed to us. Thus we see children demanding what
they want, spouses expecting their preferences to be respected,
and the belief that government must provide us with
everything. God gets thrown into the fray as well, so
that he, too, must deliver according to our attitude
of spoiled children. What we forget is that we
have received everything from God and we owe him everything.
Jesus’ image of the slave and master is not
just a metaphor. Although his free and generous gift
of redemption raises us up to the level of children
and friends, he owes us nothing. Our fundamental relationship
with God must be that of a grateful creature
with a loving creator. We must start there.
Attitudes: Far from asking us to act as “worthless slaves,”
Jesus wants to free us from the pride that
enslaves. The virtues of service, gratitude, honor and obedience
may not be popular today, but they forever reflect the
heart of a child of God. Jesus embraced all
these virtues and the attitudes of humility that they
require. My first duty in life is to serve and
obey God. My duty of gratitude can never be
exhausted, for he gives me so many gifts – life,
faith, family, etc. –, and he leads me to
a love that is self-giving rather than demanding my
rights before God and others.
Conversation with Christ:
Dear Lord Jesus, help me to embrace
my condition as creature with humble simplicity. Open my
mind and heart to the many endless expressions of your
generous love. Teach me a gratitude that thinks more
of you than of me.
will pray for the grace to show gratitude to
God in my daily activities, striving to make these acts
of gratitude occur.