28th Sunday 10-Oct-2010
Luke 17:11-19: “Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan.”
Today’s Gospel introduces ten men who were struck with leprosy, a disease that does not discriminate between rich or poor, saint or sinner. Leprosy made them social and religious outcast. When they approach Jesus they are rid of the leprosy and the stigma that goes with it. But only the Samaritan realized that he was not just cured of the disease but healed and rushed back to express his gratitude to Jesus.
If you had the option of being cured OR healed, what would you choose?
What gave Jesus the power and the freedom to be counted among the social and religious outcasts? Perhaps it was his own attitude of gratitude. We get a glimpse of this attitude in some of the important events of his life: He multiplies the loaves and the fish by first giving God thanks; he does the same at the Last Supper, when he raises Lazarus from the dead and in so many other situations.
Gratitude is the memory of the heart and the window to the soul. Gratitude is when we give thanks for the gifts and benefits we have allowed ourselves to receive. In this act of receiving, our selfish egos disappear. These gifts then will overflow from us to the rest of the world, like Jesus, without discrimination, or counting the cost, keeping a record and least of all seeking a reward. Gratitude cultivates in us that peace and freedom that the world cannot give and inner bliss that no one or nothing can take away from us.
Paul makes gratitude his recipe for happiness. “Be happy always, pray without ceasing and in everything give God thanks for this is the will of God” (1 Thes 5:16-18). When gratitude becomes a way of life we do God’s will in the truest and the fullest way possible. Paul also teaches that if we want to live an anxiety-free life or the Easter life of peace and courage we need to pray with gratitude in our hearts (Phil 4:6). In fact Paul is convinced that when gratitude is missing in our heart, our minds become evil and our lives futile (Rom 1:21).
Some suggestions to make gratitude a way of life:
- Every night as you fall asleep, give thinks for at least three things that happened during the day.
- Every night do not think about how much more you could do for your spouse, your near and dear ones, rather think about all those things that they did for you and those you did not really pay much attention to and be grateful
- Say your grace before and after meals at different times of the day. This prayer is not about your food alone: Bless us O God and these Your gifts which we are about to receive…. We give you thanks for all the benefits which we have received from Your bounty.
- Make a Gratitude Circle: Draw a big circle on a sheet of paper
- Write out the names of people who reached out in love to you. Put the more significant ones at the center and the less significant away from the center. Make sure you mark even those seemingly insignificant.
- Now remember significant experiences and in a rectangle write out the approximate date and place and a word, phrase or symbol that will remind you of those experiences—the more significant at the center.
- Look at your Gratitude Circle everyday and express your gratitude in any way that is meaningful to you and keep adding to your entries.
How about you offer some ways to make Gratitude a way of life that have worked for you or for your friends?