28th Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year C
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: Ocober 13, 2019
Why do you come to Mass on Sunday? Probably different reasons for many of you. Some perhaps find comfort, others find a challenge, others want to focus on the Word of God, others want the presence of Jesus in Holy Communion, perhaps some come because it is an obligation, others come because they are pushed to come by someone, some feel guilty if they do not come.
Lots of different reasons that might motivate us to come. But, the fundamental reason that should motivate all of us along with any of these other reasons is found in the very name of what we are doing. We call this the Eucharist. Eucharist comes from the Greek word which means, Thanksgiving.
We come here to God the Father, with Jesus, united in the Holy Spirit, in the body of Christ, the Church, to give thanks. Like that one Leper out of the ten who were healed in today’s Gospel, who returned to give thanks to Jesus, we come here to the feet of Jesus and give thanks. It is that basic and that essential.
Thanksgiving, Gratitude, is the foundation of any healthy Christian spirituality.
It is not possible to be wise unless deep in your heart is gratitude.
The path to holiness is only possible if the key word in your soul is thank you.
We will prepare for our own death in peace if the one prayer that springs from our heart is thank you. When we come face to face with the Living God, we may have many questions, things we wonder about. But, we are ready for that encounter when the first words that pour forth in the presence of the living God is simply, thank you.
When we look over our life, with its failures, sins, disappointments, plans never achieved, are we still able to respond from the heart, a calm thank you?
It is easy to look at the problems of our world and our own life, to find things to complain about, to see what is wrong with the world, with others, with myself. But, are we able to see the goodness, able to see with gratitude?
To be truly grateful, to live in gratitude, to see with eyes of gratitude, is a sign of holiness, a sign of wisdom.
Interesting that the two people in our readings today that returned to give thanks and were considered saved by God, were so-called foreigners, those seen as outside the grace of God.
In the first reading it was Naaman the Syrian, in the Gospel it was the Samaritan. They were not of the right religion, they would have been seen as outside of God’s covenant at that time. What did each have that saved them? They saw with eyes of gratitude and they returned to give thanks. You could say that gratitude was their path to God.
Take a moment of silence: Close your eyes, think of one thing you are thankful at this moment in your life. Now in your imagination come to the feet of Jesus and express your gratitude. Give thanks.
Go out from here, live in gratitude, see with a grateful heart. Come to the feet of Jesus often in your heart to give thanks.