Thanks be to God. Really?

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Thanks be to God. Really?

At daily Mass we are currently hearing the story of King David proclaimed during the first reading. On Friday in the Third Week in Ordinary Time, we heard about David, Bathsheba, and Uriah. The section of the story that was read ended with the death of Uriah at the order of King David who purposefully sent him to the front lines of a fierce battle. King David wanted Uriah out of the way so he could have the beautiful Bathsheba all to himself.

At the conclusion of scripture during a Catholic Mass the people respond, Thanks be to God. This last Friday it felt weird to say Thanks be to God immediately following the words, “Some officers of David’s army fell, and among them Uriah the Hittite died” (2 Samuel 11:17). Thanks be to God. Really? Do I really want to say Thanks be to God in response to King David having the husband of his secret lover killed?

According to the General Instructions of the Roman Missal, when the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to this people (GIRM, 29). We respond Thanks be to God because God is speaking to us through the Scripture readings. In the situation I had with David’s story I had to remember that I was not saying Thanks be to God in response to David’s murderous sin, but rather was offering gratitude and praise for God’s Word. We are grateful for the whole of the story of salvation and Thanks be to God is our response.

Thanks be to God. Really.

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“Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict