As Thanksgiving in Return

October 9, 2022 – 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/100922.cfm)

A man once never thought that he would donate blood in all of his life. Once, however, his child got very ill & hospitalized, and badly needed blood transfusion. Luckily, they were able to get a blood donor for his sick child. Now, as he watched the donated blood dripping through into his child’s veins, he suddenly realized that someone had shared & donated the blood that is keeping and helping his child alive. Straightaway he made up his mind to become a blood donor, himself, and he was as good as his word – regularly as needed donating blood as thanksgiving for the gift.

Last Sundays’ readings were all about `Faith’. Particularly, in last Sunday’s gospel, we heard the apostles’ request to increase their faith. But Jesus reprimanded them by pointing out to them that God has given them enough faith and no need to ask for more because it is already given. In a way, Jesus directed us now and his disciples then that we cannot demand God to grant us the gift of faith because faith is God’s grace. It is God’s free gift given to us voluntarily of His love, and not out of our requests, wants or needs, or even payment for our good deeds.

Today’s readings are also about FAITH but faith not only as God’s gift but faith as our response in gratitude and thanksgiving to God’s love.

Naaman in our first reading, having cured of his leprosy, in return comes to believe in the true God and commits himself to praise the God of Elisha. St. Paul in our second reading resolves to preach the Good News to others despite persecutions, oppositions, and hardships so “that they, too may obtain the salvation given to us in Christ Jesus and share eternal glory” – meaning, that others may also share what is given us. In our gospel, ten lepers were cured of their leprosy, because of their faith in Jesus. But only one Samaritan came back to thank him and praise God – only one is grateful enough for what God has done to his life.  

All of these would mean that inasmuch as faith is a gift from God, faith is also our commitment to respond in return to God’s generosity and goodness to us. Faith is then our personal decision to commit ourselves in resolving to give something back in gratitude to God’s love and goodness to us. Like that of the man & the healed Samaritan leper, our faith should compel us to do something in response to God’s love and grace-given us.

Having faith may have saved us, healed us, cured us and… it thus also makes us acknowledge God’s grace in us anew, and challenges us to change our ways and be renewed in our relationship with God. Inasmuch as faith without action is useless, God’s gift of love and generosity to us are also useless without our faith-response. It is not sufficient then to have more than enough faith. But as we receive God’s gifts & miracles of faith in our lives, we need also to express our faith as thanksgiving in return.

To share in God’s grace then, it is not only a matter of having faith, but also a matter of how we live out and practice our faith in Christ as our response in gratitude to God’s grace. Rather than being worried about how we can avail of, how we can benefit more from & be entitled of God’s grace, we should be more concern on what return can we make to God in gratitude, and how can we reciprocate or “pay-forward” God’s goodness to us with others.

But still, many would like most to avail of the generosity & benefit from the help of others, but few are willing to give something back in gratitude. Remember, out of ten lepers who were cured, only one came back to thank. Thus, gratitude is so important. Gratitude makes us want to give something back in grateful response for such great gift. Gratitude makes us help others and celebrate-exchange our gifts-received with others.

As followers of Christ, the Holy Eucharist is our expression and celebration of our faith-response in praise and thanksgiving to God for all the blessings he has given us through His Son Jesus, in life so-far. We are supposed to be a Eucharistic people, a people constantly grateful to God. So, don’t be so pre-occupied with the beautiful things God has given us that we forget to thank the Giver of the gifts, and fail to share such gifts with others. What matters most then is not the gifts but the Giver of the gifts, and how gifts are shared and celebrated – that is how it is freely given and gladly received by one another.

So perhaps every time and next time you attend Mass, ask beforehand not for what gifts you need and want from God, but instead, ask how God has been generous and good to you lately that made you grateful to celebrate & share with others now here in our celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

And may our prayer now be: For all that has been… Thanks you Lord. For all that will be… Yes, Lord. Amen.

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