FR. GERALD MUOKA HOMILY FOR THE 28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: THE VIRTUE OF GRATITUDE
BY: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY OCTOBER 9 2022
R1 – 2Kgs 5:14-17
R2 – 2Tim 2:8-13
GOSPEL – Luke 17:11-19
There is an interesting story about two Angels who were sent to the Earth. The cries and petitions of the people reach the doorsteps of Heaven constantly. So once God decided that he should send the angels to the Earth to collect them directly from the people. Thus, two angels were sent to the Earth with two bags. One was commissioned to collect all the petitions, and the other was asked to collect gratitude. The angel that was collecting the petitions found the bag full in minutes and flew up to heaven many times. But the angel that was collecting gratitude could not even fill a bag.. probably still on earth!
Beloved in Christ, the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy invite us to reflect on the theme of Gratitude in our faith-journey and day to day living. More still, to imbibe the practice of inundating heaven not just with prayer requests, but with prayers of gratitude. Have you ever taken time to reflect on why the highest form of worship or prayer in Catholicism is the Sacred Liturgy, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? The Vatican II, in Sacrosanctum Concilium, designates the Holy Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s life.
The reason is because, The Eucharist, from its Greek rendition, ‘Eucharistia,’ simply means ‘thanksgiving.’
Thus, the three readings of this Sunday’s liturgy invite us to imbibe the virtue of gratitude. Such gratitude must not go unexpressed. Fulton Sheen once said, “The highest form of gratitude is the act of thanksgiving.”
In the first reading, we see Naaman, a gentile military commander from Syria who was willing and earger to show gratitude. After being healed of his leprosy, he returned to thank the Prophet Elisha for curing his leprosy, and as a sign of his gratitude, transferred his allegiance to the God of Israel.
In the second reading, we see St Paul’s fraternal exhortation to Timothy to imbibe the virtue of gratitude to God even in his physical sufferings and amid the dangers associated with spreading the Word of God because God will always be faithful to His people.
Whereas the Gospel reading, presents us with story of the ten lepers who were cured by Jesus, only one came to show gratitude, but nine went away. Imagine the irony: It was only the single non-Jewish leper (a “Samaritan), considered by the Jews as heathens and probably heretics, returned to show gratitude.
*BETWEEN NAAMAN AND THE GENTILE WHO* SHOWED GRATITUDE.
Here are three parallels worthy of note between the Gospel story and the story of Naaman, the Gentile who was also healed of leprosy.
(i) Both Naaman and the Samaritan leper were foreigners who sought healing from a Godly Jew.
(ii) Both were ordered to perform a small, seemingly irrelevant action. Elisha told Naaman to bathe in the river Jordan seven times. Jesus told the ten lepers to show themselves to the priest who could certify a healing. In both stories, healing took place only after they left the presence of the Godly Jew to obey.
(iii) Both Naaman and the Samaritan returned, praising God, to the one who had commanded them to go.
(1) *INGRATITUDE IS THE WORST VICE*
The call to imbibe the virtue of gratitude is a lesson we must all adopt from the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy. Alot of people have really bitten the fingers that fed them. Most people are no longer ready to lift others, because those they lifted in their families and neighbourhoods are being used by the devil to fight them and drag them to the mud. St Ignatius of Loyola once wrote, “ingratitude is the most abominable of all sins, and it is to be detested in the sight of the Creator and Lord by all of God’s creatures for it is the forgetting of the graces, benefits, and blessings received.”
(2) *WE MUST ALWAYS BE APPRECIATIVE TO GOD IN ALL SITUATIONS*
So many Christians thinks it unnecessary to be grateful to God, especially, due to life’s challenges. But, we learn in today’s reading, the need to always be grateful to God. Daniel Defoe once gave a fictitious analysis of his problems and blessings that assured him the need to always be grateful to God: On one side, he wrote: I do not have any clothes. On the other side he wrote: But it’s warm and I don’t really need any. On one side he wrote: All of the provisions were lost. On the other side he wrote: But there’s plenty of fresh fruit and water on the island. And on down the list he went… In this fashion he discovered that for every negative aspect about his situation, there was a positive aspect, something to be thankful for.
Finally, a story was told about a little boy who fell off a pier into deep ocean water. An older sailor, heedless of the great danger to himself, dove into the stormy water, struggled with the boy, and finally, exhausted, brought him to safety. Two days later the boy’s mother came with him to the same pier, seeking the sailor who rescued her son. Finding him, she asked, “You dove into the ocean to bring my boy out?” “I did,” he replied. The mother angrily demanded, “Then where’s his hat?”
Imagine that level of ingratitude! Show a little gratitude today.
MAY THE GOOD LORD GRANT US A DOCILE HEART, FILLED WITH LOVE AND GRATITUDE FOR ALL FAVOURS RECEIVED. AMEN.
_FR. GERALD MUOKA_