"When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'" Lk 17:10
Attitude is everything and nothing gets in the way of having an authentic Christian attitude more than a sense of entitlement. When we begin to think that we have earned everything we have, even if we have worked hard all our lives, we forget how blessed we have been. I grew up in a Catholic neighborhood. People shared freely the little they had. Our parents did everything they could to send us to Catholic schools and colleges where we would have an opportunity for a better life. They did not expect much from us in return. They were happy to give us everything they had, but they did demand that we work hard, and that we be grateful, and never take for granted what came to us because of the generosity of others.
This is especially true of faith. Our attitude about faith, about what we can contribute to the building up of the body of Christ, about others who think differently than us must be one of gratitude. In fact, our faith reminds us continually that all is gift. Life is gift, creation is gift, friendship is gift, prayer is gift, and all are gifts to be given away. When Jesus sends the disciples out to proclaim good news he is clear: "Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give."(Mt 10:8)
The story in today's gospel is a great challenge. Jesus reminds us that we must see ourselves as "unprofitable servants." We must be ready not simply to do what is expected, but to stretch our generosity to include everyone in need. When we remember that everything we have is gift and that we sometimes take God's gifts for granted, our attitude towards those most in need will shift. We will see the poor not as objects of our charity but as people like us in need of the face, the hands and the love of God which we can provide them graciously, simply and joyfully just as God has done for us.
Today, check your attitude. Do feel entitled? Are you grateful for all you have?