“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…” (Luke 1:46-47)
Giving thanks is not just an act, it is an attitude; it demands humility on our part to acknowledge all that we are and all that we have are gifts, not rights. Today we encounter two women who gave thanks to God. When we look at the song of Hannah in our responsorial psalm and that of Mary in our Gospel passage, we cannot but see a theology of how God works; a theology Paul summarizes in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”
According to Hannah: “The well-fed hire themselves out for bread, while the hungry batten on spoil. The barren wife bears seven sons, while the mother of many languishes.” And for Mary: “He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.” In order for us to really give thanks, we must first come to terms with our nothingness. Only then are we able to see that our cup is half full and not half empty.
Hannah prayed fervently for a child, she prayed so hard that one day Eli misinterpreted her behaviours as one who was under the influence of alcohol. When she told him her problem, Eli assured her that God would answer her prayer. Hannah stopped crying; she completely believed the assurance of Eli and went home happily. Her faith was rewarded in the gift of Samuel.
Hannah was not an ungrateful woman. She remembered God and came back to the temple to fulfil her promise: “As you live, my lord, I am the woman who was standing here in your presence, praying to the Lord. For this child, I prayed. And the Lord has granted me my petition which I made to him. Therefore I have lent him to the Lord.” What a lesson for us! Do I remember to thank God for the prayers He answered in the past? Do I keep my promises to God? Am I faithful to those vows I made to God?
As Christmas approaches and the year itself comes to an end, let us pause for a while to count our blessings; enough of complaints. As bad as things may be for you right now, never forget that there are many who wished to see this day but are now resting in peace. Be like Hannah. Be like Mary. Give Thanks.
Let us pray: Lord teach us to be grateful. Amen.
Bible Study: 1 Samuel 1:24-28, 1 Samuel 2:1,4-8 & Luke 1:46-56