October 8, 2017 — Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
IS 5: 1-7; PS 80: 9, 12-16, 19-20; PHIL 4: 6-9; MT 21: 33-43
One of St. Paul’s favorite topics was prayer, and today’s reading from his letter to the Philippians is no exception to that. He says, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” For Paul all topics are appropriate for prayer because we need to share and consult with the Lord about everything.
God knows what is on our minds already, of course, but He also desires that we make a conscious effort to communicate with Him on these subjects. In addition, Paul points out that our prayers need to be infused with thanksgiving. We should not just petition the Lord and make requests. It is equally important that we think about, identify, and acknowledge our blessings.
We have often pointed out that stewardship is a life of gratitude, a way of living which encourages us to focus on gifts, not on problems and challenges all the time. If we strive to have grateful hearts, our prayers come much more easily, and we tend to be much happier and more upbeat in our lives.
The noted author, philosopher, journalist, and theologian G. K. Chesterton is well known in Catholic circles because he converted to Catholicism during his life, and was an excellent conveyor of the faith. In terms of living grateful lives he said, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” That includes thanks to God.