Has Sunday ever snuck up on you before?
That’s what happened to me this week, which is why this post is going to be just a little different, but I’m taking advantage of providence to share what’s on my mind regarding the Liturgy we are gradually walking into this time of the year. But first…
Our usual brief reflection on today’s liturgy — very brief this time.
The first reading from 2 Kings 5:14-17 and the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19 teach us a lesson in faith, obedience, and gratitude. More specifically, that these three virtues go hand in hand with one another.
Namaan the Leper wants a miracle as do the lepers Jesus heals in the Gospel. In both cases, they are healed because of their faith and because of their obedience. What’s important to note here is that in both cases something ritualistic is required — bathing in a river 7 times, on the one hand, following the prescribed law of Moses, on the other. But in neither case is the ritual the most important thing.
The important thing in both cases is obedience, as an outward sign of practical faith. In both cases, they were healed on account of their faith, shown outwardly by their obedience. In both cases, faith was not a result of the the miracle they received (although they received the reward of having their faith increased as a result); rather, the miracle was a result of their faith.
Let us learn from this example to ask the Lord to increase our faith, which we can be sure he will do when we put our trust in him and follow his will through our obedience — as hard as that may be sometimes.
Lastly, our Lord reminds us of the virtue of gratitude.
Sometimes we can turn sour grapes when we don’t get what we want, what we believe we need when we ask for it in prayer. Last week, our we were told, “Wait for it, and it will come.” Today, Christ gives us the follow up on this lesson: When it comes, be sure to praise the Lord and thank him for it.
Perhaps, a latent lesson can be gleaned from this teaching too. When we start to feel like sour grapes, because we’ve been waiting for it, and waiting for it to come, and we feel ourselves starting to lose hope, we may want to stop and ask:
- Have I been duly grateful for what I have received or have I taken it for granted?
- Have a taken the time, as the one Samaritan leper did in today’s Gospel, to thank God?
- Is there something I should be grateful for that I’ve been overlooking?
Or am I just expecting to get more? More of what I don’t necessarily need or deserve — especially if I have not been grateful for the gifts I’ve received.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it might be a good idea to do a little “personal advent” to prepare ourselves to really enjoy that feast for what it is meant to be — Turkey and Football!
Just kidding (but also that too)… Thankful for the gift of life, of liberty, of happiness, family, and faith.
Speaking of advents and thieves in the night…
This liturgical year is quickly coming to a close. The liturgy itself reminds us of this as the feast of Christ the King approaches. I like to think of this waning period of Ordinary Time as the advent before the Advent. Everything points toward the return of the King. Let’s be prayerful and vigilant as this great day approaches, and not be caught of guard (as I was for this Sunday).
Rather, let’s prepare ourselves to join him for the feast and celebrate with him, both in this world on the Feast of Christ our King, and in the eternal banquet in the next.
God bless you all!