Comforting those who mourn
October 31, 2019
Vocations Week 2019: Pray and Witness
October 31, 2019

Gratitude is a must!

How great it is to be alive! Life is God’s gracious gift to humanity, but life can also be unpredictable. As long as we are living on this earth, we must expect the unexpected. This is all part of the mystery of being alive.

When we think we have life’s problems under control, sometimes we don’t. Life may look lavishly green now, but will it remain always green?

Life’s journey tells us, ‘Not always’. St Paul reminds us, “It is by faith that we stand firm” (2 Cor 1:24). Hence the reason, we must always put our trust in God.

We must never give up on God, because God never gives up on us. He will always help us through our trials and tribulations.

The Christian journey is such that we are to learn and grow along the way, despite its ups and downs. On that journey, it is important that we carry our cross with faith. And even when our crosses may seem overwhelming, we must trust that Jesus is on our side to help us along the way.

He says, “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest…” (Mt 11:27–30). Jesus himself embraced His cross. He was never afraid of the many challenges that came along His missionary journey. In fact, His crosses made Him stronger in faith and love.

We are called, therefore, never to lose faith, and to hold steadfast to those glimpses of hope that reveal themselves along our Christian journey. These hopeful experiences can strengthen our faith and enable us to love with even greater courage.

It is said, “Courage doesn’t always roar; sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” The major value of life is not what we get. It is not the earthly possessions we may have worked hard to achieve, by God’s grace, for our own comfort and security.

Rather, the major value in life is what we become caring individuals, loving Christian families, or a faith-motivated society/country. At the end of our earthly chapter, we will each give an account of the life we lived. There is nothing greater and more meaningful in this world when one knows that one’s conscience is clear before God.

Therefore, as we embrace life’s challenges, gifts and blessings, let us always remember that the greatest gift we can offer to another is our presence/time. When we do this, we are giving a portion of our life that we will never get back. In other words, true hospitality must always be the model by which we live our lives.

Let us continue feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, clothing the naked, and welcoming strangers among us because the measure by which we give, is the measure by which we will receive ourselves.

Matthew 25:31–40 tells us, “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’. The righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did to me’.”

Let us always be grateful and thankful for this precious gift of life and time. The Book of Ecclesiastes says, “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven” (Eccles 3:1).

Gratitude is a must! Let us continue trusting in a loving God who is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. Let us not lose hope because God will never forsake us! Let us continue to work hard in silence.

It is said, ‘work hard in silence, let your success be your noise.’ Let us continue to love and care for one another. Jesus says, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men [women and children] will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn 13:34–35).

And John 3:16 tells us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believed in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

May God continue to bless and protect this beautiful landscape and gifted creatures He created!

Dominica-born Fr Jayson Grell FMI is parish priest of San Juan/Mt Lambert.