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Twenty-eight Sunday in Ordinary Time ©

My dear encountered couples:

Ten were cured. Only one gave thanks. How rare is gratitude! We all want to be shown appreciation, but how many of us want to give it? You know how it feels to really put yourself out for others and then not to be given any sign of gratefulness for your efforts. It can hurt, it can produce anger, it can give rise to the resolution never to go out of the way for that person nor anyone else again.

Of those who devote their lives to others and seldom get thanked, top on the list are parents. Parents spend many years of their lives working, earning a living, providing a home, seeing to it that meals are on the table every day, entertaining, solving problems, curing ills, chauffeuring, and much more - finding themselves being taken for granted by their children. They are not only seldom thanked but expected to carry out all these things while even more is demanded. Except for the special day for mother and father, and maybe a birthday, the rest of the days of the year are Children’s Day. It is often not until the children have grown up and become parents themselves that they begin to realize what their parents did for them for so many years. Appreciation begins to dawn, sometimes too late.

Today we are reminded how Jesus did things for others and received thanks from only a select few. He was sought out by many for his powers, but not sought out by many to be given the gratitude that he deserved. Jesus cured ten people of leprosy. Only one returned to thank him. We are left in astonishment at the ingratitude of the remaining nine. How could they be so ungrateful, so unfeeling!

Remember Jesus saying one time not to notice and criticize the speck in another person’s eye before you are aware of the one in your own? This might be a good time for a piece of that advice. For how ungrateful we all are to God for what he has done and is doing f or us! God is certainly extremely good and patient to put up with our ingratitude. Like a parent God is often forgotten when it comes to being shown appreciation. What he gives is usually taken for granted, like life itself. We expect to be alive each morning and be able to get out of bed. Instead of marveling at the gift of another day, of eyesight, of a cup of coffee, and being grateful, we might grumble about having to get up so early. Another day of slaving away to survive in the midst of high prices. “Oh, if only I were rich and could do as I wished,” We are rich! If only we would recognize that fact!

Often it is only after something or someone in our lives has been taken away, or after sickness strikes that we realize what we had and how unappreciative we were. We think: “If only I could roll back time, I’d be so grateful and treasure so much all that I had.” But we find it too late, while at the same time not really appreciating nor valuing what we still have.

And we go on yearning for the “good old days” when things were better - until something else is lost or changed — and we become aware that while we were yearning about the good old days we were living wonderful ones right then. As someone said, “The good old days is today looked back at tomorrow.”

Appreciate what you have now! Be grateful for what you used to have. Thank God for both. Each morning thank Him for what you will have during the new day. Don’t treat him like someone who owes you the world. He owes you nothing. Giving us anything at all - especially existence - is more than we deserve. Each and every iota of good in our lives is a gift. When we do not return thanks from our hearts, when all we do is complain and moan why we don’t have it better and have more, we are being like children in a candy store who say — “but I don’t see any popcorn.” We don’t appreciate what we have. We want what we haven’t been given.

Please note this about the God and Father in heaven we’ve got. Whether we thank him or not, he continues to give and do to and for us with excessive generosity. He loves us beyond our comprehension. But don’t think for a minute that he is not hurt by our ungratefulness. Those human feelings you have when someone takes your goodness for granted are founded in God. Those feelings of hurt would not exist in any of us if they were not in some way in God. When Jesus asked, “Where are the other nine? Was there no one to return and give thanks to God except this foreigner?”, he was expressing disappointment and hurt. But those nine who did not show gratitude were still cured.

However, there is another very important point. And that is: What does gratitude or ungratefulness do to us? Gratitude opens us up to the world within and around us, to the people and things in our lives, to the value of things we have all the time. We see and realize what we have, how fortunate we are, what treasures are already ours. We thank the One who is the source of all this -God - and we thank the people who assisted him in bringing so much into our lives. By opening up our minds and hearts to the startling reality of all this goodness, we become open more to receive whatever else God sees is good for us. And we also become givers to others by sharing with them what we have received.

Ungratefulness closes us to all this. We are closed to the values we possess; we don’t notice the source — God, and we don’t realize what we have to share with others. Much of what we have is overlooked by us and before we know it, it is gone — forever —wasted - never shared — never having been of benefit to anyone, especially ourselves. For we are too busy looking and seeking for other things - things thought to be somewhere else in someone else’s possession. We become selfish, grasping, and complaining.

Are you the leper who returns to thank Jesus? Or are you among the other nine? Whichever you were in the past, become the grateful one, and treat God to the joy that comes from goodness recognized. Praise and thank Him — every day!

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