in Ordinary Time
Psalm 51 (52): 10-11 Reflection:
Over the course of our life one of the things we should do is cultivate an ‘attitude of gratitude.’ But this is not a touchy-touchy, feely-feely attitude with no real depth. The attitude of gratitude that we should cultivate should be one based on understanding and love, reflection and prayer.
The psalm in today’s Mass is all about gratitude and trust. The writer reflects in the goodness of God and how he can depend on it ‘for ever and ever.’ That understanding that the goodness of God stretches past this world and into the next is the result of serious reflection on the nature of God and his being, it is not something superficial.
In the first paragraph the psalmist writes
“I am like a growing olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the goodness of God
for ever and ever,” to which we respond:
“I trust in the goodness of God for ever and ever.”
The psalmist sees himself as being nurtured and cared for in the house of God. The farmer looked after his olive trees, they were his livelihood and the size of his crop reflected the care that he took of them during the year. the psalmist sees his relationship with God in a similar vein: God cares for him and he, in turn, trusts that Lord to look after him.
Then in the second paragraph he goes on:
“I will thank you for evermore;
for this is your doing.
I will proclaim that your name is good,
in the presence of your friends.”
“For this is your doing,” what does that phrase mean? The psalmist is referring to the joy and hope that he feels in God, that even in the midst of all the despair and misery that is present in the world, the psalmist is still at peace. He has the insight to know that such an underlying peace in the middle of trouble and strife can only come from God.
The ‘attitude of gratitude,’ comes from knowing that we are loved and that this love passes even death itself and carries on into eternity. When we understand and feel this in our very soul, then we shall also experience the gratitude that makes God real and life worth living!