Homily for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
By: Fr. Benny Tuazon
Homily for Sunday October 13 2019
((Lk. 17:11-19) Twenty-Eight Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel, the Twenty-Eight Sunday in Ordinary Time, we have the story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus of their leprosy. One came back to thank Him. Jesus asked for the other nine who were also healed. For the one who came back, a foreigner, Jesus told Him that His faith saved Him. The story tells us that gratitude is a sign of faith and part of healing. Apparently, they were all healed of their physical leprosy but only the one who came back to thank Jesus was healed of spiritual leprosy. We can derive many lessons from this incident of healing and gratitude.
Let it be clear that God does not need our “thank you.” He gives healing out of His goodness. God is not prompted by our good deeds and gratitude. He is God, remember? He is full by Himself. In the Gospel, Jesus asked for the other nine because it was apt for anyone to have received a great grace, in this case the grace of healing, to not only saver the grace but also recognize the giver of the grace. Gratitude was an expression of faith. In the process, the one who gave thanks, the foreigner, was also given the grace of salvation. Thus, gratitude benefits the grateful!
The first reading is a good example of expressing gratitude. Naaman was healed of his leprosy by the prophet Elisha. In his gratefulness, he offered prophet Elisha a gift which Elisha did not accept. But naaman’s gratefulness did not stop there. He asked Elisha to grant him a place where he could build a sanctuary in order to remind him of the goodness of God and share to people that true of God’s goodness. In other words, when we receive graces from God, we thank him by sharing the good news to others. We may not be able to build a temple or a church, but our life maybe made us a living testimony of God’s goodness.
God cannot be outdone in generosity. When the foreigner leper went back just to offer gratitude, he got more graces, an important want, in fact. He received the gift of salvation! Jesus saw the faith in the man. For him to come back and recognize Jesus’ goodness, he showed Jesus his true person. Jesus responded generously by complimenting the humility, faith, and gratitude with the gift of salvation.
Everyday, even before we wake up, God had given us a lot of gifts. We need not look for great healing like what the leper had received. Good health, waking up, having something to eat, being able to walk, speak, hear, and feel, etc., maybe little things or common. But when we lose them, we suddenly realize their importance. Then, we remember God and question Him. But the truth is, even if we do not have all of them, i.e., we experience suffering, challenges, and frustrations in life, we still have the reason to go back and thank the Lord. Yes, we do not thank Him for the gifts we will be receiving but also for the gifts we have received. God has given us our lives and our faith. For those, we are eternally grateful!
Without being callous with the travails and difficulties of life, let us learn always to count our blessings. A woman approached me after mass to ask for some help regarding her daughter who was sick terminally ill. She showed me her picture and a list of medicines she needed together with the medical abstract. I felt for the daughter and for the mother. I gave her some donations. Later, a friend priest, whom I share the story, told me she was a hoax.
“So, her child is not really terminally ill?”, I asked. “Yes!”, he told me, “She had been going around parishes and asking priests to help her.” Then I said, “Thanks be to God her child is not sick!” My friend priest was surprised! I don’t know what I was guilty of. But as far as I was concerned, the knowledge that her child was not sick was more than enough for me than to be sad about the lie she told me. Lesson learned.
When was the last time you thanked God? I suggest you go and do so. Gratitude saves!