28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

TRANSFORMATIVE GRATITUDE

By Fr. Chris Valka, CSB

In the Gospel last week, the Apostles demanded of Jesus, “increase our faith!” In our own time, our reading challenges us to embrace the cross knowing that it is not the end, but part of a vision still unfolding; that still has its time; that presses on to fulfillment and it will not disappoint.

This week, our readings ask us to consider how we transform our pain and suffering – knowing that it is often something we cannot get rid of (try though we may), but that we can transform.

We learn this through two stories – the story of Naaman and 10 lepers who are healed. In both cases, you will find that transformation occurs only when they surrender their ego to humility. In the Gospel, the one stands out among the 10 because he fell at the feet of Jesus and said thank you. He surrendered his ego, which is often what gratitude is about; it is what happens when the ego recognizes it is not entitled to what it has received.

People come to God in hopes of alleviating their suffering and pain – some are grateful like Naaman and the one, while others, like the nine, leave healed in body, but not in spirit. But this is not real surrender or true healing or authentic transformation.

Too often, we think of religion and our faith as something we need to get right – that salvation is something to be achieved or earned, but it’s not. Rather, it is something we surrender to. To be “saved”, is not something that occurs in the future based on a decision in the past, but it is something that happens now based on our surrender now.

During this time of year, when we have so much to be grateful for, let us indeed give thanks. . . and be humble.

Sunday’s Readings:
2 Kings 5.14-17
2 Timothy 2.8-13
Luke 17.11-19