Gratitude is More than an Attitude
Ten people cross Jesus’ path in the Gospel today with a serious disease. All ten leave his presence healed. All ten felt better but only one returned to express his gratitude.
In the first reading from the Book of Kings, Naaman is healed of leprosy after following the instructions of the prophet Elisha to plunge seven times into the waters of the Jordan. In gratitude he tries to offer to the prophet his riches. Elisha refuses to accept them.
Too often we ask God for a blessing of some kind and if we get it we say “Thank you, God” and go on our way. Or like Naaman, we try to compensate God with some act of extraordinary sacrifice almost as if to say to God: Okay, we’re even! For example we might make and keep a commitment to go to church every Sunday for the next six months straight! Of course we conveniently overlook the fact that we are commanded to go to church each Sunday anyway!
For the Christian, gratitude is more than an attitude or a temporary gesture. It is a way of life; a way of living and a way of giving. As Naaman plunged seven times into the water so were we plunged into the waters of baptism. And how were we instructed to express our gratitude for the healing waters that cleansed us of our sins? Reject sin and Satan; and all of his works; and all his empty promises! Reject the glamour of evil and refuse to be mastered by sin. Does any of this sound familiar?
When he finally realized what God wanted from him, Naaman offered God the rest of his life by committing to worship him exclusively even after returning to his homeland. Like the one leper in the Gospel who fell at the feet of Jesus when he realized what Christ had done for him, we too must realize that our faith will only have its life-long saving effect when it is embraced and practiced daily. © 2007