Chúc tụng Thiên Chúa

Mình ở trong một giáo xứ thật lạ, không giống như bất cứ nơi nào mình từng đến. Giáo xứ trên đất Thái Lan, nhưng giáo dân nước ngoài thì lại chiếm phần đa số. Ngày Chúa Nhật có 8 thánh lễ thì đã 5 thánh lễ là bằng tiếng Anh. Chỉ có 3 thánh lễ là bằng tiếng Thái. Đặc biệt ở giáo xứ có chương trình dạy giáo lý khai tâm, vở lòng, thêm sức, và sau thêm sức cho hơn 350 em đến từ khắp nơi trên thế giới đang theo gia đình sinh sống tại Thái Lan. Số các em học quá đông nên ngày Chúa Nhật có một thánh lễ trong hội trường dành riêng cho các em cũng như cha mẹ của các em. Sau thánh lễ 8h45 sáng là một giờ học giáo lý. Mình thì được cha phụ trách chương trình giao cho trách nhiệm dạy lớp “giáo lý bồi dưỡng cho phụ huynh”, có nghĩa là trong thời gian các con em đang học giáo lý, thì mình sẽ có giờ dạy giáo lý cho những bậc phụ huynh muốn tìm hiểu thêm về giáo lý để thời gian chờ đợi không lãng phí. Mình rất thích trách nhiệm của mình, và trong những tuần qua đã có những cuộc trình bày, chia sẻ, và thảo luận rất thú vị với các phụ huynh tham gia chương trình.

Trong thánh lễ Chúa Nhật vừa qua, mình cũng được cha phụ trách giao cho trách nhiệm chia sẻ lời Chúa. Vì là thánh lễ cho giới trẻ nên mình đã tìm cách tạo nên một không khí sôi động để gây được sự chú ý và quan tâm của các em. Tuy nhiên, các bậc cha mẹ cũng rất hứng thú với một phong cách trẻ trung và năng động. Vì thế mình đã bắt đầu bài chia sẻ với lời mời gọi mọi người hãy ca tụng Thiên Chúa bằng một băng reo đơn giản nhưng rất hiệu quả.

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I would like to ask you a few questions,
and if you happen to agree with me,
if you happen to truly agree with me,
I would like you to say “YES” as loudly as you can.

Sisters and brothers,
Do you agree with me that our “GOD IS GOOD?”

Sisters and brothers,
Do you agree with me that our “GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME?”

Since you agree with me and confirm that our GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME,
I’d like for us to express this in a more enthusiastic and joyful way.
If I’d say, “GOD IS GOOD”
Would you please respond, “ALL THE TIME”
And if I say “ALL THE TIME”
Would you please respond “GOD IS GOOD”
Are you ready?


Allelulia. Let the Church say “AMEN”.

Dear Brothers and sisters,
What all of us just did together in a few very simple words
Is giving praise to God.

Let me ask you this, how did you feel when
You were giving God praise?
Did it depress you? Did it stress you out?
Or did it uplift you and give you joy?

I don’t know about everyone else here,
But for me, when I praise God,
It doesn’t bring me down,
But makes me very very happy.

Praising God is easy and simple.
We don’t need to be adults in order to know how to praise God.
We don’t need to be scientists and scholars to know how to praise God.
We just need to have a thankful and an appreciative heart.

And yet, in our society and world today,
Praising is such a tricky thing, especially when it comes to praising one another.
Have you ever praised someone and all they do is respond with a pitying smile?
The person you praised is afraid to accept the complement
Because they’re afraid to come across as stuck up.
So they want to demonstrate their humility with a pathetic half-smile.
In such situations, it makes us feel like we wasted our time with the praise.

And then, other times we praise some one,
And they respond with this attitude of like “I know I’m good”.
And then they walk away without any sign of appreciation for what you just said.
Conceited people like that leave us feeling small
And frustrated for praising them.

Then there are people in our lives whom the moment we say anything nice about them,
They immediately respond by asking: “What do you want?”

All these situations make us feel hesitant to praise.
When people don’t respond to our praise in a grateful and enthusiastic manner,
It makes us more and more wary and fearful of consequences that come
From a gesture of goodwill and appreciation.

And yet, have you ever praised a child
When she is able to walk the first steps in her life?
When she is able to read the first words in her life?
Children respond to praise with pure joy and happiness.
The more we praise them the more happy they become,
And the more likely they will try to do whatever they can in order to get more praise.

Unfortunately, somehow, the older we get,
The more discomfort we show when someone praises us,
And in return, the less willing we are in giving praise.
We become less practiced in giving praise.
We become more stingy with our praises.
We become more calculating with the people whom we praise.

This attitude that we take on with one another
Can also translate into how we are with God.
Because we live our lives in such a way that
We close ourselves to the goodness in others.
We ignore the beauty that others display.
We are more likely to look for and speak about other people’s faults and shortcomings.
We train our hearts to be hard and unappreciative.

When we are like that with each other,
It’s no surprise that eventually we will also become like that with God.
We stop noticing the beauty of God’s creation.
We stop noticing all the good things that God does in the world,
And all the good things that God does for us in our lives.
We begin to ask questions like
Why doesn’t God do this for me?
Why doesn’t God do that for me?
Why does God allow this bad thing to happen or that bad thing to happen?

Our relationship with God becomes one of conflict and strain
Instead of love, worship, and adoration.
And as a result, we fail and forget to give God thanks and praise.

In today’s gospel reading, we see that ten people were healed by Jesus,
But only one returned to give him thanks.
Nine of the ten also received grace from God,
But they failed to recognize this grace and failed to give God thanks and praise.
The one who did was told by Jesus that he had faith which saved him.

Brothers and sisters in Christ,
It is faith that saves us.
It is faith that makes us whole.
And true faith is demonstrated in our praise and worship of God
In all the events, all the ups and downs of our life.
Faith is demonstrated in our turning to God
In even the very ordinary activities of our daily life.
Praising God makes every circumstance of our lives complete,
essential, and eminently worthwhile.

The Psalms tells us, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.”
"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands".

The ways that we can praise God is endless:
Singing songs and hymns, clapping our hands, jumping for joy.
We can use our physical bodies,
We can use our hearts and minds,
And we can use our deeds.
When we do all of these things as a result of knowing
God’s power, love, and grace for all us,
We are giving God true and well-deserved praise.

So brothers and sisters,
Let us praise God in the face of adversity, need and plenty.
Even praise God for seemingly small things such as the need for a parking space.
It’ll make our trip around the parking lot much easier to bear.

Praise God when you awake.
It’ll make your day brighter and more worth looking forward to.

Praise God as you lie down to sleep.
It’ll make your night more restful and peaceful.

Praise God when you are tempted.
It’ll make it easier for you to overcome the temptation.

Praise God when you struggle with a homework problem.
It’ll remind you that you are blessed for being able to have an education.

Praise God when you get stuck in traffic.
It’ll remind you that you are blessed for being able to afford a car to drive.

Praise God in sickness.
It will help us feel healing both physically and spiritually.

Praise God for doing it even before it is done.
It’ll remind us how truly loving and caring our God is.

And in this mass, as we begin to break bread
And share with each other the body and blood of our savior Jesus Christ,
Let us give God thanks and praise for the gift of Jesus,
Through whom we are saved,
Are brought together as brothers and sisters of one another
And as true children of our caring and loving God.

So brothers and sisters:
God is Good….All the time.
All the time….God is Good.
Amen! Praise the Lord!

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