HOMILY FOR THE 28TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
HOMILY THEME: A GRATEFUL HEART IS A JOYFUL HEART!
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
(2 KINGS 5:14-17,2 TIMOTHY 2:8-13, LUKE 17:11-19)
Most times we spend much time recounting our woes and disappointments to the extent that we hardly recognize or appreciate the Goodness of God in our lives. So, this Sunday the church reminds us of the importance of showing gratitude to God. If we spend just a moment to reflect over the course of our life, we shall find many reasons why we must always return to God with our heart full of gratitude to Him. That is why when people talk to me about an issue or issues, I pause and tell them, count your blessings and you will find God’s hands in your life. The healing of the Samaritan and his thanks set off an irreversible train of thought.
In today’s first reading, the story of Naaman the leper is a typical example of how we should express our profound gratitude to God. Naaman also teaches us how to show appreciation to those who have been good to us. Also, in today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us of the importance of gratitude to God for favors we have received from Him. In this reading, what caught the admiration of Jesus about the Samaritan was simply that he: “Turned back, praising God at the top of his voice, and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” When was the last time we expressed this kind of gratitude to God? Gratitude to God is an expression of our faith in His saving power.
Showing gratitude to God is very important in our Christian journey with Him. However, it must not be seen as a burden. The truth is that there is no amount of money or material thing that would be enough to pay God for his goodness to us. So, the decision to show gratitude to God must flow from our hearts and from a pure conscience. Most of us are grateful when God answers our prayers but going out of our way to express that is difficult. That is one of the main purposes of the eucharist, so much so that the word eucharist comes from a Greek word meaning thanksgiving.
In light of this, we must approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist every day. It is a sacrament of gratitude or thanksgiving to God. It is one whole sacrifice through which we, the Church give thanks to God when we gather as one big and united family in his presence. It is more about offering ourselves totally and wholly again and again to God. This is the gratitude that flows from a sincere heart.
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Many of us hardly have time to show gratitude to God for what he has done for us. At times, even to use the gifts we have received freely to serve Him is hard for us. This is because we rationalize a lot. It is significant, therefore, that Jesus commends the Samaritan for his faith, which has been his salvation. All 10 of the lepers were given the gift of healing, but in his gratitude to God for this gift, the Samaritan found salvation. Our salvation is found in recognizing the gifts we have been given and knowing to whom we must offer our thanks.
My brothers and sisters, we are invited to reflect on our own faith at this time of the year. Do we give thanks each day for at least, the wonder of being able to live and to love and to serve others? Giving thanks should be part of our daily life as well. We don’t have to have something special happen in our lives in order to give thanks. Thanksgiving is the key to our joy. A person who goes through life with an ungrateful heart and attitude, feeling as if life has been unfair toward him and that life owes them much more than they have received, that person will be a petty unhappy person. It’s the person who knows God has blessed them, and who has learned to be grateful is the person who is able to be joyful. A grateful heart is a joyful heart.
God bless you.
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