Once there was little preacher who went from place to place to preach the word of God. His only source of income was the voluntary contributions of the congregation he preached. One day, after preaching, he passed on his hat among the people. After it had made the rounds, the hat was returned to the preacher. The preacher looked at it and found it empty. Then he raised his hands and said, brethren let us thank the lord that the hat has come back safely from the congregation. A good little story to thank God for what we are today.
In the gospel today Jesus teaches us to praise and be grateful to God. At a time when he was facing mounting opposition and inability to secure the confidence of the elite and the powerful, he thought he had a reason enough to praise God, saying, Father. Lord of heaven and earth, I thank you. Because God has given him twelve disciples. Jesus praises God for what God has revealed and accomplished, and not complaining about what has not been accomplished through them.
But our human nature is such that we are slower to recognize blessings. How hard it for us in these uncertain times to recognize the blessings? How humiliating sometimes, it is for us personally when we have worked hard on something expecting some appreciation but fail to receive it? Yet we are recognized by Jesus that we are God’s blessed ones.
Dear brothers and sisters we cannot be free from weariness and burdens of human life. All of us rich or poor, strong or weak have our share in burdens of life. For example, most of us feel fatigue from hard work. We feel boredom which comes from a vague dissatisfaction with life. We have moments of depression. We have the responsibility to lead, direct, to be a parent or teacher, some have the burden of being sick, widowed or divorced. There are burdens some carry in looking after the others. Perhaps we might wonder what to do in this uncertain time? And yet no matter what kind of weariness we feel or what kind of burden we bear, Jesus says “come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.
Jesus has every right to call us to him for comfort and consolation for he was subjected to much worse humiliation and burden than we could imagine.
Secondly it is because of Jesus’ unique relation with his father, for he says everything has been entrusted to me by my father. So come to him, counting the blessings for he is gentle and humble.
Every morning we wake up to realize that we are still alive? is it not a reason to be grateful to God, we are able to see and talk to our friends? We are able to enjoy and find peace in God’s creation. Can there be any better reason to praise God than these? We can figure out personally our little ways of counting the blessings.
Furthermore, God has blessed us with spiritual blessings, we share the faith handed on to us. Praise God for the best friendship and companionship in our parish community and society.
Finally come to him with the confidence that, he will compassionately bend down very low to raise us up.