Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

A reflection on the Mass readings for Saturday, April 24, 2010 (Acts 9:31-41; Psalm 116; John 6:60-69), by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.

In both of the readings today we have a sense of thanksgiving. In the first reading we have those who are given back life. In the Gospel we have those who are willing to become disciples of Christ, those who are willing to say ‘yes’ to Him whom they loved. And we see the response of thanksgiving to Christ.

The Psalms teach us how to pray and it is the responsorial psalm of today’s Mass that ties together our two readings. It says, “How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me?” When we look and see all the good God has done for us personally and collectively, we look to this psalm to teach us how to give thanks. The psalm continues, “the cup of salvation I will take up”. What is the cup of salvation? It is suffering and resurrection. We give thanks to God when we are able to fully accept the cup of salvation and all that it means for us—what salvation brings. It will bring suffering so that we may return to the Lord. The word ‘yes’ is held in that cup.

The next verse of the psalm is “I will call upon the name of the Lord... You have loosened my bonds.” Sometimes the things that hold us bound the most are our own selves. There are also things we hold onto that are inappropriate. We need detachment to live for God; and we especially need detachment from ourselves in order to rise above those things that hold us bound.

The following verse says, “To you I will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving.” This is the Eucharist. That’s the greatest thanksgiving there ever will be. Then again it says, “I will call upon the name of the Lord.” Call upon the name of the Lord night and day. He’s a father, he wants to come to our aid. He wants to lift us up. He wants to heal us. Call upon Him joyfully; call upon Him when you’re in trouble. Call upon Him just to be near Him. He’s a father—He loves us and He wants to embrace us in every way. What more could we ask for in life, what more?

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