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Jesus’ Teaching on Living in Active Gratitude

by David Gray, October 12, 2013

The First reading (2 Kings 5:14-17) and the Gospel Reading (Luke 17:11-19) at today’s Mass for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time share four common points; that is, (1) A leper (Naaman/Samaritan) needs to be healed physically; (2) That leper goes to someone who they believe to be a prophet (Elisha/Jesus) of God to help them; (3) The outcome of their visit to the prophet is that their faith in God results in them being healed; and (4) In gratitude of what God has done for them they offer thanks to the prophet.

Perhaps as you, I have found it to be the case in my life that it is very easy to express my gratitude to God for something that He has immediately/recently done in my life, but what is more difficult to do consistently is to live in active/persistent gratitude throughout the day of all that He has done – is doing – and will do. For, it is one thing to be grateful to for the former, but it our calling to live in active gratitude for the latter.

thanks1To be sure, the best expression of living in active gratitude to God is obedience to Him, by doing precisely what we are called to do, how we are called to do it, and when we are called to do it.

One thing that hinders us from living in active gratitude to God is feeling ashamed of who we are – of our sins. I know sometimes it feels as though you are spitting in the face of God when you have knowingly sin against Him who has done, is doing, and desires to do even abundantly more for you. It makes you feel sick to the soul, and angry. Other things that block us from living in active gratitude is the business of life. We get too busy and caught up in the cares and concerns of the world and forget about God sometimes.

The Samaritan leper in the Gospel reading today offers us some practical helps to overcome those things that obstruct the way of living in active gratitude to God. As the story goes, after ten lepers were healed, one (a Samaritan), upon realizing that he had been cleansed, “returned, glorifying God in a loud voice, and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” The beauty in the heart of the Samaritan leper is that he had a clear awareness of what his condition was BEFORE he had encountered Christ, and how radically better he was AFTER he had encountered Christ. For our part, if we would just live in that simple disposition and awareness of the Samaritan leper – of being aware of the sick person we were we before Christ saved us, and how better off we are for having entered into life with Him, we would be laying prostrate on the ground all day in the light of His Glory.

Now, I am not suggesting that we should all lay down prostrate all day. No, there is work that needs to be done. Rather, what I am saying is that we can only give away to others what we ourselves have received, and they who forget what has been given to them will never be able to retrieve it when they need it the most; nor will they be able to give away to others what they themselves have forgotten.

Therefore, embrace that simple awareness that paves the way to living in active gratitude of what God has done, is doing, and desires to do in your life. This is truly the best way to always be in a position to cheerfully give Jesus away to others. Indeed, that simple awareness and active gratitude is our Baptismal calling, and the special call for today’s Mass.

PRAYER FOR LIVING IN ACTIVE GRATITUDE
Lord Jesus Christ, You have done so much for me. Fill my mind, body, and soul up with the grace of undying remembrance of your love for me, so that I will never be unaware of who I am in you and to you. Amen.

PSALMS 98:1, 2-3, 3-4
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.

The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands:
break into song; sing praise.

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Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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