28th Sunday in Ordinary time: Luke 17:11-19
“Finding himself cured”. Notice how the gospel doesn’t simply say that the leper was cured. The emphasis was on finding himself cured. Gratitude, the heart of prayer, begins in finding our gifts and blessings. Then we are moved to turn back in praise of the giver and thanks for the gift. Coming to Mass should not depend on how we feel or what we get from it. The Eucharist begins when we find the gifts of God in the saving work of Jesus Christ through his death and resurrection. We turn back to God in praise and gratitude.
“Where are the other nine?” Was Jesus disappointed? One out of ten. Is that our average score in showing appreciation to God or people? One word of appreciation will help me preach next Sunday whereas any negative criticism will make it harder to keep going. How many priests have dried up through lack of affirmation and encouragement? How many marriages would flourish if partners made a constant effort to show gratitude?
Begin with finding your own gifts. Take pen to paper and list the other nine … the nine favours or blessings of life that you have not sufficiently appreciated.
Examine conscience on your sense of gratitude and appreciation. How often do you offer appreciation, affirmation, praise or compliment?
It’s a lovely practice to reflect at the end of each day and pick out just one blessed moment: a cheerful moment, helpful people, music, beauty, a flower, a nice meal, birdsong, somebody’s good example. The list is endless. Just one blessing each day. Maybe note it in a diary. Over time this practice of gratitude will make you more aware of God’s blessings. It can transform you, make you less negative as a positive outlook takes over in your life. Gratitude is the heart of prayer and the key to happiness.