Homily – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C – Gratitude

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
2 Kings 5:14-17
2 Timothy 2:8-13
Luke 17:11-19
October 13, 2013

Ten lepers, all in need of healing, come to Jesus.  They ask for pity.  With no other action, Jesus tells them to go to the priests.

They go as they are told which actually takes a great deal of faith.  The rules about leprosy said to go to the priests after healing and the priest would declare the person clean.

But the ten lepers haven’t been healed and yet they are going as directed.  This means they have faith in Jesus.  They may not know what is going to happen but they have faith to do what Jesus says.

As they go, demonstrating their faith, they are healed.  This is absolutely wonderful.  Ten people are healed.  What is their response to their healing?  We are not told anything about what nine of them did except they did not return to Jesus.  Only one recognizes the source of their healing and returns to give Jesus thanks.  Only one should gratitude.

It’s pretty easy to remember to ask God for help.  We generally aren’t so good about remembering to thank God.  We may acknowledge that things have improved but do we see God as the source of the good?

Naaman was healed of his leprosy and wants to give Elisha a gift.  But Elisha isn’t the source of the healing.  Elisha knows this and refuses the gift.

There’s nothing wrong in thanking human beings for doing their part but we need to acknowledge God’s hand in it.

Do we even see God’s hand in the good?  When things are bad, we ask God for help but do we take the credit ourselves when things turn out good.

Think of it this way.  This lady was on her way to a very important meeting and couldn’t find a parking spot because one of the local parking lots was torn up.  Not wanting to be late, she offered a prayer to God to help her find a parking place.  She promised she would go to church on Sunday if God would help find a parking spot.  As soon as she finished her prayer, she found a parking spot.  So she told God to “never mind” because she had found a parking spot herself.

She asked God for help and God responded immediately.  But she took the credit herself.

When things turn out good, do we take the credit ourselves, saying it was our hard work and/or expertise?  It’s not that we don’t work hard but do we recognize that we do good because of the gifts God has given us?

Do we acknowledge the gifts God has given us?

Do we thank God with gratitude?

Do we live with an attitude of gratitude?

Sometimes we struggle to show gratitude towards people we don’t like.  We judge them (never a good thing) for something in the past and are shocked with they do good.

We should not be shocked when God does good things for us.  I believe God does good things for us all the time.  We just can’t see it because we expect big miracles and miss the little things God does for us.

Or maybe we miss the good things that God gives us because we give all the credit to someone else.  For instance, say we know someone with a terrible illness.  So, we pray for God to help them.  Later they are healed.  Do we give thanks to God or do we give all the thanks to the medical staff?

It’s not that we shouldn’t thank the medical staff.  The role they play is important and they must work hard.  But do we realize that God has given them the gifts to heal us?

Another example – when some people get ready to go on a long trip.  When starting the trip, they take a moment to say a prayer for safe travel.  How many of us remember to thank God when we have safely completed the trip?

It’s when we see God in the simple events of our lives that we begin to live with a real “attitude of gratitude” and appreciate what God does for us.  May we also be grateful to God.

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