Increase Our Gratitude

(October 13, 2019)

Bottom line: By gratitude faith increases.

In today's Gospel Jesus heals ten lepers. One of them, a Samaritan, returns to thank him. Jesus says:

"Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"

So, one in ten. It seems about the same proportion today. People like myself remember the high attendance at Mass in the 50's. Since then we (and other religions) have experienced decline. For sure, some congregations have seen growth. We can learn from them. Still, we have to recognize the human tendency to take God for granted even after powerful experiences of grace.

To get people back to Mass we first need to face our own lack of gratitude. Eucharist after all means "to give thanks". Last year I started a gratitude journal. It contains a long list but I have to admit I can go days without reflecting on blessings I have received. I take them for granted. Not good.

I want to mention two blessings. They relate to the Called to Serve as Christ campaign. I mention them because for me the campaign is not about fund raising. It's about gratitude.

In the packet you received from Archbishop Etienne, it has an insert relating to our parish project - rectory renovation. St Mary of the Valley rectory is the best living situation I have had in my years as a priest. Out of gratitude I want to make some changes so I will be able to continue there as I age. I want to hand it on in good condition for a future priest. Probably half of each day I spend in the rectory: the chapel, bedroom, kitchen, even the exercise room. I am blessed to have a good living situation.

I am blessed also to be a member of the Seattle presbyterate. We have our problems including the competiveness that marks groups of men. Still, they have both encouraged and inspired me. I want them to have the best care as they, like me, face the challenge of aging. I am also concerned that our young priests will have a retirement and medical fund they can count on. And I am thankful Archbishop Sartain included religious sisters in this campaign.

It all comes down to gratitude. If we have grateful hearts the Mass, the Eucharist becomes joy, not drudgery. Our trials do not disappear but they take on meaning. Last week we said to Jesus, "Increase our faith". We could just as well say, "Increase our gratitude". By gratitude faith increases.

Jesus says as much to the Samaritan who returned to thank him. "Stand up," he says, "and go; your faith has saved you." Amen.


Boots Laced #4 - How to Take Step of Matrimony (Audio homily for 28th Sunday, Year C 2016)

How to Pray: Part 1 Gratitude (Audio homily for 28th Sunday, Year C 2013)

Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for Twenty-Eighth Sunday, Year C):

2016: Boots Laced Week 4: Gratitude & Matrimony
2013: Focus on Prayer, Part One: Gratitude
2010: The New Copernican Revolution
2004: Two Classes of Men
2001: Show Yourselves to the Priests
1998: Gratitude for Life and Gifts

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)

Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*

Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.

Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron

Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)

Parish Picture Album


MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru