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Gospel: Lk 17:7-10
Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner’? No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterward.’ Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I don’t think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty.’”
The point Jesus is making is that God need never be grateful to us for anything we do for him. No matter how much we do for him, we can never put him in our debt. Everything we give to God (or to God through others) is simply giving back to him a small portion of what he has already given us. God can never be a matter of reward for us. He can never be under any obligation to us. God’s grace is not a merited reward. Perhaps that is what some of the Pharisees thought. They felt that, because they kept the Law perfectly, God owed them salvation. We can do the same thing ourselves when, for instance, we think that by saying certain prayers or performing certain acts (novenas, indulgences, pilgrimages, and acts of charity) God should give us what we are telling him to do, to give us what we are asking for. All our living out of the Gospel is not a compliment paid to God. On the contrary, we can never be grateful enough to him for showing us the way to truth, love, and freedom which Jesus taught us and for giving us the grace to walk his Way. With God, all our giving is only a partial giving back. We are just sharing what is basically given to us. We are receiving more than we are giving back. All is grace. Our response to the daily offer of grace is gratitude.
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