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Praising Him Is Our Peace: A Spirituality of Gratitude

Saturday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

First Reading: Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21

Brothers and sisters:
Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise,
that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have;
God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind.

Obey your leaders and defer to them,
for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account,
that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow,
for that would be of no advantage to you.

May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead
the great shepherd of the sheep
by the Blood of the eternal covenant,
furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.
May he carry out in you what is pleasing to him through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23:1-3A, 3B-4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose.
Beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Gospel: Mark 6:30-34

The Apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.

When Jesus disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.

NAB

At times we feel pressured. It’s like someone is saying, “you can’t possibly be happy doing that _______!” Fill in the blank with any ordinary task: changing diapers, caring for an aging family member, spending hours on an excel spreadsheet. They seem to be saying, “you need a vacation from that­­­­­ ________ and soon.” Is it true? It depends on our vision, our spirituality.

We also feel fragmented. The beeping and buzzing of watches, phones, and other Bluetooth devices have amped up life’s symphony. These beeping and buzzing things promised to make life easier. Have they? I believe they can, but only if we use them to this end.

Sisters, our First Reading says, “May the God of peace . . . furnish you with all that is good, that you may do his will.” It reminds me of what Saint Paul says in Ephesians 1:3, “God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens.” Did you hear it? All. Every.

Sisters, we have every grace needed to be able to live our lives as a gift. This is the path to joy and peace. Everything is a gift in Christ Jesus. The air in our lungs is gift. The eyes we are using to read this piece are a gift. Praising Him is our peace.

The First Reading today summarizes this spirituality of gratitude and giftedness: “Through Jesus, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.”

Isn’t this amazing? Sisters, we are called to fruitfulness. The fruit of our lives, as beloved daughters of Almighty God, is to continually offer a sacrifice of praise.

Let’s ask for the grace to live into this gratitude. Let’s offer every little, tiny moment of our day as a continual sacrifice of praise. This praise gathers and transforms everything, and it lifts our spirits to union with Him.

As a result, everything that seemed ordinary, even annoying, suddenly becomes a channel of Our Lord’s salvific love. Can you find it in your life today?

Sister Maria Kim Bui is a Daughter of Saint Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She is originally from Tempe, AZ, spent most of her fourteen years in religious life in the northeast, and is part of a bilingual evangelization team of sisters serving in Texas. Find out more about her here.

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