Saturday of the Twenty-FourthWeek in Ordinary Time
Giving thanks to God
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all you lands; worship the Lord with cries of gladness; come before him with joyful song. Know that the Lord is God, our maker to whom we belong, whose people we are, God’s well-tended flock. Enter the temple gates with praise, its courts with thanksgiving. Give thanks to God, bless his name; good indeed is the Lord, Whose love endures forever, whose faithfulness lasts through every age. Ps 99
In Jesus’s times, the psalm of today was considered entrance song to the temple: it is a praise to God for his universal kingship and what He means for everybody. It is an exhortation to “shout joyfully” to the Lord in every moment, to start the prayer with “gladness” and serve him with “joy” during the day, carrying out the plan which he has given to us so that we accomplish it, by letting the talents we received bear fruits. Help us, Lord, to pray with gladness, to operate with joy, cheering you night and day! The reason for starting your day with joy, the psalm says, is the “gratitude” for belonging to him: “Know that the Lord is God, our maker to whom we belong, whose people we are, God’s well-tended flock”. We are not abandoned orphans, we are the sheep of his pasture. We do not miss anything because Providence comes to us in every moment: we have the gift of life, of our beloved ones, of a home and a job, and when this latter one is missing, he cares for us otherwise. An Eastern legend tells of blind man who, while sadly wandering along the street, met a man who healed him, giving him back his eyesight. He began to shout for the joy that he could finally see the beauty of the world, giving infinite thanks with gratitude to his healer. “Why then – the story ends – don’t we thank the Lord for the gift of eyesight? ” Give us, Lord, a deep sense of gratitude because we belong to you, for the gifts we receive and because you care for our needs with generosity!
Then, the psalm exhorts us to express our thankfulness to the Lord with “thanksgiving” and “praise”. Each prayer we say must begin by thanking him for all we receive, and it must eventually result in praise for what he is: he is the one who has answered the real questions of our life, who made sense in our days and gave us an eternal hope. Give us, Lord, the ability to thank you for all you give us and praise you for what you are! The psalm ends with an exhortation to bless the Lord because “[his] love endures forever, [his] faithfulness lasts through every age”. We bless thee, O Lord, because you are merciful, you forgive our sin and the sign of this forgiveness is your faithfulness. You are a faithful God!