Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Father Shawn Hughes

October 9, 2016


Homilies are never the creative act of one person.  So as we begin to post these homilies on our website I would like to state first and foremost that there will be nothing original in the following. My homilies are a result of my prayer, reading and study as it pertains to the particular gospel of the week.  Thus, I beg, borrow and steal from the wisdom of those who have gone before me and together with the Holy Spirit acting in my own prayer considering the needs of our particular parish community here at St. Mary’s, a homily appears by the weekend. If there is something that edifies you I can take no credit for it.  ‘Tis the result of the work of the Holy Spirit and those from whom I have gleaned wisdom over time.  If there is something that you might wish to discuss I am always available and would welcome any opportunity to speak about the Scriptures.  

God bless you.

Father Shawn

Gratitude is so beautiful!  Ingratitude is very ugly!!!

Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!!!!

Jesus cannot resist a cry for pity.  Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!!!!   The cry of the ten men afflicted with leprosy moved His heart immediately.  For Christ, a soul in need is an obligation to help.  These ten men who had leprosy cried out to him from the depths of their hearts and automatically his heart was moved.  Love, simply cannot hold back when it sees others in need.  Love, simply cannot hold back when it sees others in need.

He simply tells them to go and show themselves to the local priests.  The Law required that someone fortunate enough to recover from leprosy had to have the cure verified by the priests.  The ten men who had leprosy obey Jesus and go on their way.  Their faith and their obedience to the law freed them from their infirmity…the gospel states…as they went they were cleansed.

Imagine their excitement.  Imagine their joy.   No longer would they have to ring a bell to warn people as they approached.  No longer would they have to cry out “Unclean!  Unclean!” to warn others of their diseased and very contagious presence.  No longer would they have to endure the pain and stench of their disintegrating noses, ears, lips, fingers, and toes.  Imagine their joy.

Yet, only one comes back to the Lord; praising God with a loud voice, falls at Jesus’ feet and gives thanks for the cure.  Gratitude is such a wonderful virtue.  St. Augustine says: “What better words may we carry in our heart, pronounce with our mouth, write with a pen, than the words, ‘Thanks be to God’?  There is no phrase that may be said so readily, that can be heard with greater joy, felt with more emotion or produced with greater effect.” (Letter 72)  Gratitude is a wonderful virtue.

“Were not 10 cleansed? Where are the nine?”  Jesus is surprised and disappointed at the other nine.  10 had cried out “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!!!”  10 were healed.  Only one returns to give thanks. The other nine are completely healed and they go to the priests as they were instructed.  But something is lacking in merely following Jesus’ instructions.  Were they so caught up in their good fortune that they failed to “see” God’s hand in their healing?

Discipleship requires doing one’s duty, but it is much more than just doing one’s duty.  Disciples realize that they can never repay the grace of the mercy of God they have experienced.  Disciples live deeply aware of and therefore grateful for what they have received. Disciples of Jesus profoundly recognize that God’s mercy has touched their lives. And the proper response to God’s saving mercy is not presumption that it is something we deserve…the proper response to God’s saving mercy is pure gratitude and praise of God for His saving mercy.   The other nine had been healed.  But the one who returned received Jesus’ declaration of salvation.  The nine got what they wanted, but the one who returned received more than he had dreamed of asking for.

It is amazing how we always seem to have a clearer sense of what we need over and above what we have received.  Perhaps this would go some way to explaining why we typically do not appreciate what we have, and why our gratitude can be insufficient.

Our lives should be a continual act of thanksgiving.  We should frequently bring to mind the many natural gifts and graces the Lord has granted us. Even in times when we are experiencing some lack, we must remember that the grateful man who had been cured of leprosy only came to know Jesus by means of his dreadful disease.

Gratitude may be the purest measure of one’s character and spiritual condition.  Lack of gratitude reveals self-centredness; it reveals that attitude that I deserve more than I ever get… therefore I do not need to be grateful.

The grateful person, reveals a humility of spirit and a sensitivity to love expressed by others.  The grateful person regards other’s acts of kindness and experiences of God’s grace with profound gratitude.

Jesus’ says to the man cured from leprosy: “Your faith has made you well!”  Faith, like gratitude, is our response to the grace of God as we have experienced it.   For those who have become aware of God’s loving mercy, his grace, all of life is infused with a sense of gratitude, and each encounter with others and with God becomes an opportunity to see and to respond in the spirit of the grateful.

Thus, on this Thanksgiving Weekend, when we gather with family and friends to Thank God for his abundant blessings, the gospel asks us to ask of ourselves some very challenging questions:

“Is my heart moved with pity when someone reaches out to me for mercy?”  Do I offer healing, reconciliation, forgiveness, when it is asked of me?

Do I hold back Love when I see others in need?

Do I allow joy to fill my heart in awareness of how good God has been to me?

Is Thanks be to God regularly on my lips?

Do I merely do my duty, fulfill my obligation, or do I realize the great debt I have to God for his loving compassionate mercy?

Do I focus on what I need rather than what I have received?

A very good prayer to say at the end of the day is to look over the day and thank God for His blessings… a simple litany that begins:  Thank you Lord for…and name what you are grateful for…and then the next thing… Thank you Lord for…and name what you are grateful for…and do it as many times as what you are grateful for comes to mind.

It would be a wonderful prayer for homework to do each evening this week.  If we pray like this…we are much more deeply aware of the degree to which God blesses us and how intimately he is present in his blessings in our daily lives.

Hopefully, “Thanks be to God” will be more regularly on our lips.