Entitlement v. Gratitude

There are three things to which I believe we are all entitled:

  1. Opportunity

2.   Justice

3.  Hmmmm … on second thought, there are only two things to which I believe we are entitled: Opportunity and Justice

Perhaps ENTITLEMENT  was never a nice word — but it sure seems to be a prickly word today … a word that antagonizes.

As an older man, and hopefully a wiser man, I have come to realize that there is really very little to which I am entitled —- AND A WHOLE LOT FOR WHICH I NEED TO BE GRATEFUL — THINGS THAT REQUIRE ME TO SAY, “THANK YOU!”

I am not entitled to good health.  I am not entitled to the same things that you have.  I am not entitled to have you like me.  I am not entitled to have all the same material things you might have — a nicer home, a bigger car, a long life.

Somewhere along time, someone taught me TO NEVER compare myself or my situation to others —- if I did, I would find myself better off than others and become haughty —- or to find myself less off than another and to find myself jealous and angry.

I am 67 years old —- there are many people who have never lived this long.  I need to be grateful.

My parents worked hard and left me and my siblings with an inheritance — I need to be grateful.

I have great insurance with great access to medicine — I need to be grateful.

I have never been homeless, I have never been without food, I have always had a job.  I need to be grateful.

I have not had perfect health.  I deal with depression and anxiety.  I do not own an airplane.  I have an incurable, muscular disease [myasthenia gravis].  SO WHAT?

I have been in the inner circle of Church politics — and it was great.  I have been an outcast in Church politics — and I have not died.

The Scripture this weekend tells us the story of the ten lepers who were cured —- and the one who came back to give thanks.  [Luke 17:8-13]  In a LOUD voice, this man, a  Samaritan, returned to Jesus and THANKED HIM.

wow … THANKED HIM …. I am not into preaching guilt, but I know that there is a lot we take for granted — and for which we do not THANK GOD —

Like the lepers, we all cry out to Jesus, “Have pity on us” …. for we have a child who will not listen to us — have pity on me for I have an really bad work situation …. have pity on me because my spouse is an a**-hole …. have pity on me because my bishop is a jerk — have pity on me because I can’t seem to get ahead …. have pity on me because my neighbor plays music too loud — have pity on me because I am about to retire and I may not have saved enough ….. have pity on me because I am going through a divorce and I do not know how I am going to survive …..

AND THEN, we make it through it …..  is our gratitude at least a prayer of thanksgiving — is our gratitude shown by trying to help another person — is our gratitude met with a realization that without God —- we have nothing, we are nothing.

An attitude of gratitude is our goal — an understanding that I could have died during my sleep.  Someone could have run that stop light last night —- and t-boned my car — and I would not have the capacity to deal with the challenges of today.

Who of us — who of us — is reading this blog today [or typing it] if it were not for the grace of God — the goodness of God.

Yes, I have a lot for which I can complain and fuss —- and cry out to the Lord for help.

I wish I had better Presidential choices.  I wish I had a better bishop.  I wish I had financial resources without limit.  I wish I had perfect health and 20/20 vision without cataracts.  I wish all my nieces and nephews had no trouble with their children or their finances.

BUT ….. there is so much for which I need to simply say thank you …. thank you Lord for giving me sleep …. thank you Lord for giving me access to medical care …. thank you Lord for the food in my fridge and the friends who laugh with me … and clean sheets ….

I am entitled to so little and I have so much —- I cry OUT LOUD …. thank you, Jesus.





About thegospelforliving

Retired Catholic Priest - now serving the community as a paralegal and charter school consultant.
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