A reflection on the readings for October 9, 2022, the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
A little boy fell off a pier into deep ocean water. Nearby was an older sailor who, 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 rescue my boy?”
“I did,” he replied.
The mother quickly demanded, “Where’s his hat?”
At one time or another, we’ve all probably experienced the ingratitude of others. We did something for someone and expected some acknowledgment, but it never came. It stings. If we’re honest, however, most of us have probably been ungrateful ourselves. We have failed to thank others–and to thank God. As we reflect on our relationship with the Lord, we will probably see many times when we’ve been ungrateful to him.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, only one leper in the story returns to thank Jesus for being healed. The other nine lepers, although healed by the Lord, lacked gratitude. How often are we like those nine lepers? Each day the Lord blesses our lives, but so often we fail to take time to reflect on those blessings.
A priest I know is fond of saying that often we treat the Lord like a fire extinguisher. We go to him only when we are in trouble, when we are in need, or when we are afraid, and we rely on him during those moments. But then we forget about him. In these moments, we are like the lepers who turned to Jesus for healing, but once healed don’t return to thank him. We should not want to be like the nine!
The word “Eucharist” is the Greek word for “thanksgiving.” When we gather as a community of faith to worship the Lord at Mass, gratitude is a central aspect of our worship. Worship is an expression of our gratitude to the Lord. We acknowledge his goodness, his blessings, and that every good thing in our life comes from his goodness. And at Mass we give thanks. We pray: “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is right and just.”
In the second reading, St. Paul pleads, “Beloved, remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead.” Each day, we must remember Jesus Christ. We must remember all the good he does for us, all the blessings he gives to us, especially the blessing of his very self that he gives to us in the Holy Eucharist.
Today, let us resolve to be grateful to the Lord. Take time today, and each day this week, to prayerfully reflect upon the blessings of your day. I encourage you to try to think of at least three new things for which you’re grateful and tell the Lord how grateful you are to him.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God, for it is right and just!