Gratitude to God for His Goodness
Readings: 1st: I King 5:14-17; Ps: 97:1-4. 6-9; 2nd: 2 Tim 2: 8-13; Gos: Lk 17:11-19
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most times we spend much time recounting our woes and disappointments to the extent that we hardly recognize or appreciate the Goodness of God in our lives. So, this Sunday the church reminds us of the importance of showing gratitude to God. If we spend just a moment to reflect over the course of our life, we shall definitely find many reasons why we must always return to God with our heart full of gratitude to Him.
In today’s first reading, the story of Naaman the leper is a typical example of how we should express our profound gratitude to God. Naaman also teaches us how to show appreciation to those who have been good to us. Also, we learn from this reading that God does not come to our help because of what he will receive from us. He says: “All the silver and gold in the whole world are mine” (Haggai 2:8-9).
However, He does not condemn material offerings to the Church in appreciation of His goodness to us. This is because, “the Church is the visible sign of God on earth. So, our offerings of thanksgiving to the Church is offered to God, for building up his visible body – His church.
In today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us of the importance of gratitude to God for favors we have received from Him. In this reading, what caught the admiration of Jesus about the Samaritan was simply that he: “Turned back, praising God at the top of his voice, and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.” When was the last time we expressed this kind of gratitude to God? Gratitude to God is an expression of our faith in His saving power.
Many of us hardly have time to show gratitude to God for what he has done for us. At times, even to use the gifts we have received freely to serve Him is hard for us. This is because we rationalize too much. Unfortunately, some of us offer to God as if we are investing in a lottery. In order words, “God, has to do something for me because I have given something to Him. Or, “I give to God, because He gives to me!”
Showing gratitude to God is very important in our Christian journey with Him. However, it must not be seen as a burden. The truth is that there is no amount of money or material thing that would be enough to pay God for his goodness to us. So, the decision to show gratitude to God must flow from our hearts and from a pure conscience.
In light of this, we must approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist every day. It is a sacrament of gratitude or thanksgiving to God. It is one whole sacrifice through which we, the Church give thanks to God when we gather as one big and united family in his presence.
Finally, when we gather, we are there to say: “We give you thanks Almighty God, for these and all your benefits to us, through Christ Our Lord.” It is not only about offering God material things or gifts alone. Rather, it is more about lifting up our entire being to God in his in appreciation and gratitude for His love and goodness to us. It is more about offering ourselves totally and wholly again and again to God. This is the gratitude that flows from a sincere heart.
Peace be with you all!