Gratitude to the Gifts of the Lord

December 22, 2020 – Seventh day of the Misa de Aguinaldo

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/122220.cfm)

Homily

How grateful am I today? Gratitude makes us recognize the many things that surround us in a manner of being appreciative and positive. Gratitude allows us to be embracing and accepting of the things and people around us. It is when we are grateful too that we become joyful persons because we see the goodness and uniqueness of others.

The joy that comes from being grateful leads us to be more aware of God’s tremendous generosity to us despite our weaknesses and sins. When we become joyful, we also become generous towards the people around us, no matter who they are, whether they are friends or strangers.

Such character in us that is being nurtured because of gratitude, calls us now on this Seventh Day of our Misa de Aguinaldo to be more conscious of God’s gift to us and to grow in gratitude. For us to recognize the gifts in us, let us see first how gifts of the Lord were also being revealed in today’s readings.

In the First Book of Samuel, we heard the story of Hannah. Hannah had been into humiliation and shame because of being infertile. She could not bear a son which gave her so much anguish. Being the second wife of Elkanah, Hannah was always humiliated by Peninnah, the first wife. Yet, through the prophet Eli, Hannah’s prayers were answered. She bore a son, Samuel.

Through the gift of Samuel to Hannah, she realized how faithful God is to her. Through this gift, she also realized the other gift she received, through her friendship with Prophet Eli. The presence of Eli to Hannah was a reminder that there was hope. That friendship, made Hannah to be comforted when she was humiliated. Eli was Hannah’s prayer warrior. This made Hannah to be ever grateful to God. Because of her gratitude to God’s blessing and saving her from humiliation, she dedicated her son to God. In fact, because of this offering, Hannah had been blessed also to have 5 more children after Samuel. Hannah’s story is a testament that when we become generous, God’s blesses us more.

The Responsorial Psalm, which was also taken from the same Book of Samuel, expressed the experiences of the people and particularly of Hannah in the first reading. God comes to rescue his people who were oppressed, humiliated and broken. The response, “My heart exults in the Lord my savior,” expressed that deep gratitude to God who is not indifferent to the suffering of the people. A heart that exults God is joyful and grateful. Thus, to praise and truly worship God is to have a heart filled with joy and gratitude.

To both, we are reminded of God who comes to bless us in order to save us, to liberate us and to empower us. This character of God has been the experience of Mary. Her song famously called as the Magnificat expressed also that deep gratitude to the Lord.

God is indeed great for he has done many great things to the lowly ones. This recalls and recognizes the action of God where the powerful, the arrogant and the corrupt are brought to shame while the lowly, the poor and the hungry are raised and satisfied. This song depicts how God favored and blessed those who call him God and those who remain faithful. Mary’s song is certainly a song of gratitude to God.

Everything that we have heard in the readings tell us that when a person grows to be grateful, the person also becomes more aware of the presence of God, the giver of blessings and gifts. This reminds us too that everything is a gift.

God calls us today to be more grateful of the gifts and blessings that we have received each day, no matter how small that would be. But if we have received so much, be more thankful and be more generous too. Remember, a grateful person is a person who goes forward, because when we are grateful we also become contented of the present, whatever there is. We also become reconciled with the past, whatever that was. And we become hopeful and positive of the future, whatever there will be.

In a concrete way, let us begin today in recognizing every gift we have received from God, not just our material things, but also the gift of persons of our friends and family, of faith and community. As we recognize them, let our hearts be filled with gratitude to the Lord and gratitude to people around us. Let that gratitude express the joy in us, to dispel our anxieties and fears, our guilt and shame, our indifference and sin. Hinaut pa.

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