27th Sunday in Ordinary Time

SAYING “PLEASE” & “THANK YOU”

by Leanna Cappiello

What if God suddenly took away everything that you forgot to say “thank you” for?

Imagine… losing the things you took for granted: your favorite sweater, your TTC metro card, your mobility, your hair, pillows, warm socks, that essential morning cup of coffee, that extra 5$ bill you found in your winter coat pocket. Gone without warning. Imagine a life without toothpaste!

Thankfully, it doesn’t work this way. God doesn’t punish us because we take things for granted or forget to say “thank you”. Though this alternate perspective does reveal what kinds of things we might take for granted.

God gives freely so that we may not be in a position to earn, but in a position to thank. We are not used to this, as our society demands we earn our living, our belonging, and our worthiness.

If our mentality is that we are entitled to certain things, we live out of a place of fear and rigidity, for we might earn one day and lose another. We begin to think we are alone, forced to covet our goods without sharing. In the gospel, a Jesus offers a parable about a landowner’s tenants who killed slaves in order to keep from feeling threatened of the harvest they felt they deserved and earned. This parable gives us a taste of the frightening ferocity of having to earn our keep and stay on top.

Alternatively, if our mentality changes to that of responding to a gift that has been freely given, we live out of a place of joy and playfulness. The entire second reading is filled with words like “prayer”, supplication”, “thanksgiving”, “honorable”, “just”, “praise” and “peace”. It begins with “do not worry about anything” and ends with “keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me”.

The former drives us to an individual pursuit of power; the latter motivates us to a community effort toward justice. Power steals life while the justice gives life.

We cannot “earn” our way into God’s heart; we have already been given that gift. He invites us to ask and receive freely, we need only say thank you in our own way. How we act in response to thankfulness is how we are to live our daily lives: with joy, gratitude, and confidence in God’s generous outpouring.