Grace to you!
Sunday last week, I shared with you a powerful testimony about the gift of faith. I also explained the audacity of faith. Today, may I reflect on the gratitude for God’s gift of faith.
Have you surprised someone with a precious gift before, or at least, you thought you did? It could be your child, your employee or a friend. You went the extra mile to make it possible. You put lots of love in it.
You waited too long to hear if the person received the gift. You walk past or have an eye-to-eye glimpse of the person and instinctively think, “I hope the gift was received.” You realized later the gift was received, though the beneficiary never cared to say, “thank you.” This is definitely not nice, or is it?
How about flipping the coin here. You were the beneficiary of the gift. You forgot to thank the giver of the gift. This is not who you are; maybe you forgot. Months or even years after, you realized you didn’t say thank you. You will feel terrible about yourself and would want a do over, won’t you?
We receive many gifts from God. Because they are everywhere, we tend to forget to thank the Lord. We take life for granted, and with it, all the good things that happen to us. Did you not know that the act of faith is equally the act of gratitude?
Living the life of faith is living the life of gratitude to God for all the special gifts to us. If you are a believer, thank God for the gift of faith you received. We are privileged to know God and to love God. This knowledge, this faith, is a rare gift. Please don’t take it for granted. Be grateful!
The Gospel of Luke 17:11-19 tells a story of ten lepers who were cured of their leprosy by simply a word spoken by Jesus “Go, show yourself to the priest.” They believed Jesus’ word, and there was miracle of healing. Believing God’s word is a miracle for the believer.
You have to understand that when Jesus spoke that word, the lepers, coming from Jewish culture, had a sense of what it meant – healing for them. For the Jew of the time, ‘go see a priest’ means to confirm you’re healed (see Leviticus 13:49; 14:2). The priest confirms the healing, not the leper himself or herself. There is a metaphor here about how the healing forgiveness of God is confirmed by the priest. Note also that for the Jews, leprosy was regarded as a sign of sin.
The lepers, having believed, were healed. Yet, only one came back to give thanks to Jesus. Jesus said to the one, “Stand up and go, your faith has saved you” (Luke 17:19). Here lies the difference between the first acceptance of faith and the redeeming faith. Redeeming faith lives a life of gratitude to God. It transforms into worship – Eucharist (etymologically eucharistia - giving thanks).
We also see the redeeming faith in the gratitude of the gentile Syrian governor, Naaman, who plunged himself into the Jordan seven times, obeying the word of the prophet Elisha; and, he was cured of leprosy (2 Kings 5:44).
Here again, we have another metaphor – that of Baptism. When we are plunged into the water of purification and are reborn in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we receive wholeness from original sins. Free indeed!
At first, Naaman doubted, but when he believed, there was healing. In response, he offered gifts to the prophet, though the prophet didn’t accept it (sign of detachment). One would see a heart grateful for what the Lord has done for him. His confession was the saving part “I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD” 92 Kings 5:17).
I hope you are grateful for the gift your have received.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.