Gratitude for Altitude
The theme of this Sunday is gratitude. Gratitude is a word used to express thankfulness and praise. One of the marks of a true Christian attitude is the ability to be thankful in both the trials and blessings of life. St. Paul says in (Eph 5:20; 1 Thess 5:18) give thanks for all things, in all circumstances. If you think there is nothing to Thank God for, thank God for life because you need to be alive to pursue other things and that is why Isaiah 38:19 The living, the living, he thanks thee, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children thy faithfulness. And so we have that beautiful song: “Every Living soul, every living soul praise the Lord”
On the other hand, ingratitude marks godless and wicked men who suppress the truth about God (Rom 1:18-21). One basic reason for ingratitude is forgetfulness. We don’t thank God because we easily forget his generosity towards us. Ps.103:2 says bless the Lord oh my Soul and never forgets his benefits. We are too quick to forgets the benefits we enjoy in spite of our problems. In 1Sam 17: 34 – 37 When David’s capability of conquering Goliath was questioned, he told them what God has done before, by helping Him to kill the lion and the bear. Some themes in today’s readings are:
1. Obedience: Jesus gave the ten lepers an instruction: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” In the same way, Naaman the Syrian received healing by obeying the instruction of the prophet Elisha. Obedience is a very powerful tool for healing, when given instruction obey. Instruction saves you from destruction. We are sick and we know too well that we are sick yet we don’t obey the prescription of the doctor. You are advice on what and what to do you take them for levity. Again, we come to the Church we are given instruction to go for penance, a sacrament that heals the soul we feel there is no need. These men were lepers, today leprosy is not so common as it were in those days. But apart from the fact that a skin disease in biblical understanding it stand for many different ailments. We carry different forms of leprosy ranging from family problems, financial problems to even spiritual problems, these problems could have been adverted if we had obeyed the advice given to us. Some persons were advised to not marry so and so yet they went ahead and today they are having marriage leprosy.
2. Gratitude: Gratitude is a spiritual force that empowers you to scale higher. You can’t change to higher level without it. Ten people were healed, but only one returned to say ‘thank you’ to Jesus. And He took note of that. He came to say thank you and he was blessed further. Thanksgiving and appreciation will establish your blessings as permanent features of your life. Ingratitude is a major reason for stagnation. A man who does not give thanks does not move forward no matter how much he prays. It takes gratitude to become great. A man that is not grateful does not live a great life. Until we thank God for where we are, we cannot move to where we are meant to be. Until you thank God for where He has brought you, He will not take you to where He has planned to take you. Your struggles will reduce and your glory will show when you live a life of gratitude. Every time the devil reminds you of what God has not done, show him what God has already done. Let us be thankful if we want our tank to be full. Where are the others Jesus said. Ingratitude is another form of leprosy, called leprosy of appreciation. It makes us depreciates eats our fingers and success off.
3.Worship: One higher dimension of gratitude is worship. The first reading tells of how Naaman was cured of his leprosy and he was very grateful for it and he offered a present to the Prophet but the prophet did not accept it. Acknowledging the cure as coming from Yahweh, Naaman began to worship the God of Israel. In the gospel ten lepers were cleansed but only one came and fell on his face at the feet of Jesus, giving him thanks. Beloved in Christ, worship is a higher form of gratitude wherein we are not just saying thank you Jesus but making it our life style.
The relationship between thanksgiving and worship is seen in the Eucharistic celebration. The Eucharist itself is thanksgiving. We participate in the Holy Eucharist to thank the Lord. The priest says: Lift up your hearts and we respond we lift them up to the Lord; and the priest continues “let us give thanks to the Lord, our God” and we respond: “it is truly right and just” the mass continues: “Father, all-powerful and ever-living God, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Our praises adds nothing to his greatness but profit us for salvation. That is why when the man came to meet Jesus to thank him, Jesus said to him your faith has made you well. Well here means saved.
4 Gifts: In the first reading we are told that Naaman brought a camel load of gifts to Elisha but Elisha did not accept the present. This does not condemn material offerings to the Church in appreciation of His goodness to us. This is because, “the Church is the visible sign of God on earth. So, our offerings of thanksgiving to the Church is offered to God, for building up his visible body – His church. Don’t come forward empty handed in thanksgiving; it is thanksgiving not dancegiving. God does not bless you with words of mouth only He blesses you with material things. Therefore use this material things for the building up of the Church -the visible body of God here on earth. Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not presenting it. Appreciation is felt when it is tangible and observable. Look at our approach towards thanksgiving for favours received. What w offer is so poor compare to what we use in celebrating that favour. You can afford to buy one wine at any price but to buy one bag of cement and give to the Church is like a camel passing through the eye of a nidle.
Fr. Dan Evbotokhai