HOMILY THEME: Learn to Give Thanks Always.

BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu



_“Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” *Luke 17:17-18*_

Giving thanks is an act that is beyond words, it is a way of thinking, it is being able to acknowledge that whatever we have or whoever we have become was not deserved. I am sure many of us have heard this poem by a Nigerian Gospel artist:

Many are landlords in the CEMETERY; many are tenants in the MORTUARY; many are candidates of OBITUARY.

But we are here, still worshipping in His SANCTUARY.

He has been keeping us since JANUARY;

His good news filled up our DIARY;

He’s doing all these without collecting SALARY.

He’s indeed an awesome God!

If you know he is truly an awesome GOD and you are alive today,

then GIVE THANKS to Him and praise His Holy Name.”

In today’s Gospel passage, we saw how Jesus healed ten lepers but only one returned to give thanks to God. And Jesus looking surprised asked him: “Were not all Nine healed, how come _na only you con waka come_?”

Jesus wondered why it was only a foreigner who came back to give thanks. Gratitude is not a tribal phenomenon neither is it a denominational gift. It is a virtue we all must strive for. Human beings are generally very hard to please, ingratitude is a disease that affects a larger number of the human population.

The ratio one to nine not only reflects the situation of the ten lepers, it reflects the situation of the entire human race. If you do a favour for ten persons, be sure that only one will return thanks. It is an irony that while we easily notice ungrateful people around us, we tend to be more ungrateful than those we complain about.

“Stand up and Go, your faith has saved You.” The man came to give thanks and Jesus is commending him for his Faith. What does this mean? It takes Faith to give thanks. It takes one who believes in the power of God to acknowledge that it is God, not luck, not intelligence, not money, not friends that has been sustaining you all along and that God deserves thanks. This faith that makes us give thanks is a faith that saves.

Now, turning to the other nine, let us ask: What kept them from returning to give thanks? The answer is simple: The ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY. For them, Jesus simply did his work and they got the healing they deserved. After all, isn’t that why Jesus came to the world? Why thank Him for being who He is supposed to be? For them, they had been good and holy all along and prayerful, they deserved the healing, it is their right and portion. So why thank God for giving them their due? Do workers thank their employers for receiving their salary having sweated and laboured for the month? For them, giving thanks is just a waste of time. After all, there are so many things they need to do to get back to their normal lives again.

Surprisingly, just yesterday Jesus told us in our Gospel passage, “after you have done all that is commanded you, say: ‘we are only servants, we have done our duty.’” The nine lepers like most of us did not see themselves as mere servants. We feel we deserve God’s blessings, we pray at times as if God owes us, we even shout at God and command Him in the name of “violent prayers.” When it comes to giving thanks, our “violence” vanishes, we start to talk normally again! Thanksgiving may last for one second but asking, casting, binding and declarations can go on for hours.

Master Elkhart Tolle once said: *If the only prayer you ever say is ‘Thank You,’ it will be enough.*

Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, teach me how to be grateful! Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Titus 3:1-7 Psalm 23:1-6 and Luke 17:11-19).


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