Most of us know well the importance of speaking daily our praise and thanks to God. We probably have our usual “list” of those people, places and things, for which we are habitually grateful.
Today as we hear Moses addressing the people, exhorting them to keep the “statutes and decrees” which he teaches them, he caps his encouragement with a reminder that it’s precisely these “statutes and decrees” that set them apart from other nations. Part of their status as “chosen people” stemmed from the fact that no other nation on earth had been given such a gift. Or as today’s Psalm 147 has it: “He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem!”
How often do we add to our list of praises and thanks the gift of our faith, the Scripture that is so accessible to us, the teachings that have been handed down to us, the living teaching that continues to sustain us in the midst of a world of other voices and teachers? For many of us, sensing the challenge or even conflict that our faith often brings as we live in the midst of the contemporary world, we are likely to think of our faith and its teaching as a burden rather than a gift.
Yet, what a mystery it is that we have also been “chosen” to receive the message of faith, the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the promise of eternal life in him! Perhaps an exercise for today might be this: to imagine ourselves without faith, without life in Jesus Christ, without his teaching and his Body, the Church, in which that teaching remains alive. Where would we be? What would “today” look like? What would I be doing with my life that I am not doing today? Would I even be in the physical place in which I find myself today? On what would my hopes and dreams be based?
Perhaps such an exercise will lead us to add to our “usual” list this “unusual”, yet vital, fountain of our praise and thanks.
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