13th Sunday after Pentecost 3.9.17 Thanksgiving
In these troubled times… where is God? People ask this from different angles. The unbelievers are mocking… where is this God of yours? The believers are pleading with God to show His hand (maybe not too much all at once!).
We can find God in the midst of all the smoke and confusion.
We can follow the example of the one leper who returned (today’s Gospel), loudly glorifying God. This is what we are doing at each Mass, and in general throughout our lives.
We praise God for His goodness, a goodness which is infinite and unchanging. If He hides His hand it is never because of any malice or weakness on His part. He is supreme at all times, supreme in goodness and in power.
Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration (Jm 1,17)
He is never arbitrary. He does not push a button, saying, I think I will give so-and-so an extra rough time today.
He does let things go to some extent. He does not intervene at every point where we might think He should. We tend to want a quick fix, like instant coffee. Fix it, Lord, don’t make me work through all the hard stuff.
He does offer us other ways out of trouble, such as obeying Him, trusting and praying, and doing penance.
Much as we are inclined to throw down tools and have a tantrum with God, we must resist such a course. We can express anguish with Him, tell Him how hurt we are, shed tears before Him. We can do all that, but in a respectful way that affirms our ultimate trust in Him.
Constantly we realign ourselves with Him, reaffirming His reality, His goodness; recalling that He did not have to make us, or save us, and does not have to take an interest in us. But He does all that simply because He wants to.
Then He pays us the further compliment of expecting us to be active disciples in His service. He is giving us a position of responsibility, not given to all His creatures.
We can thank Him for that too, even though it makes life harder.
Our thanksgiving is not an awkward add-on but an expression of trust so that thanking and asking are woven together and go with each other
Just to see the trouble in the world makes us immediately turn to prayer of petition.
At the same time we thank Him, in advance, because we know He hears us. Our Lord put this in His own words, praying through His humanity: Father, I know that You always hear Me (Jn 11,42).
If we complain, it is like tramping in with muddy boots, when we need to be very quiet and still, if we want to find out what is happening. Be still and know that I am God. (Ps 45 (46), 10).
If we sin (worse still) we are breaking this vital connection, cutting the rope to which we cling, biting the hand that feeds us.
If we have union with God, all else falls into place. If we give Him the time we would see that He does prove Himself, with a lot more to come.
Like the leper, we come before Him extolling His goodness. We would extol Him even if we are not healed, because He is who He is. If He does not give us one kind of blessing He will give us another. Always good, because that is His nature.
All glory be to Him.