”To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” - Johannes A. Gaertner
It is said, ”an ungrateful child is as dangerous as the venom of the viper.”
Due to the deceptive culture of undermining religion and belief, our modern world seems to have succeeded into brainwashing us into accepting that our achievements and successes are the results of our personal efforts, but not from God (and His grace).
Some believe that it is their right, and that they are in control of their own destiny. This has led people into self-indulgence, ego-centrism, self-focusing and appropriating glory and acknowledgments to themselves.
The consequence of this modern-day trend includes the mad rush for fame, popularity, stardom, celebrity, etc. This is because everyone wants to be in the spotlight. But human beings have soon forgotten that God deserves the due acknowledgments and gratitude. Since, we are what we are because He has made it so, it is from His gratuitous love and care for us. He is our fountainhead. Gratitude should be accorded where it is due.
In our first reading, Naaman (an outcast and non-Israelite) after receiving healing from God through Prophet Elisha acknowledged and showed profound appreciation to Yahweh. He, being a pagan, was very grateful. As Christians we are reminded to invariably exemplify our indebted gratitude for the blessings we undeservedly receive from God.
Paul, in the second reading, admonished Timothy to be grateful to God always, even in his physical sufferings and amid the dangers associated with spreading the Word of God, because God will always be faithful to His people.
But can we find such Christians in our epoch? Unfortunately, we have ”everything-must-be-good-Christians” in our time and age. This is because some Christians of today only thank God when they are in their ”comfort zones.” When life is good, it's due to their personal efforts. When they are facing difficulties and problems it means God has not been good to them and they become angry and complain. But in life, whether good or bad, we must give thanks to God.
In our gospel reading, Jesus Christ praises the Samaritan leper who came back to show appreciation for the healing received.
Beloved family of God, in one way or the other we are ”lepers” whom the Lord heals every moment in our lives. If you enjoy whatever you are fortunate to have it is not because God owes you, it is not because it is your reserved right, it is not because of your personal efforts, it is not because of what you are thinking... But rather it is because God cares for and loves you! Therefore, you need to thank Him.
To conclude, my beloved one, we must see GRATITUDE as an indispensable virtue that serves as a bridge for the continuous flow of God’s graciousness. It also serves as a conduit or a hinge that keeps us connected to one another for the sustainability of our social stability and existence. You can show gratitude through your prayers (the Holy Mass-Thanksgiving), serving and taking good care of the seniors (your parents), by sharing your time, treasures and talents with others. Remember that gratitude does not only move the human, but also the divine. Gratitude is contagious... Gratitude is golden... Gratitude opens many doors... Our gratitude portrays our faith and what we stand for. Just do it! It may be the key to your prayers (miracles).
Stay blessed... Stay warm... See you in Church. Thanks.
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.