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28th Sunday

Some of you woke up this morning feeling sad. Some of you lived through the week depressed. Others, surely, trekked to the church today full or regrets.

Why is it that many people have a difficult time fashioning a great day for themselves? Or a great week? Or a great life? I think one of the main reasons is that we have forgotten the secrets of a joyful life.

Today’s gospel shows us Jesus giving to his disciples the key to a life of peace, fulfillment and joy. It is quite simple and easy: be thankful!

After healing 10 lepers, the Lord saw how the 9 lepers each went home filled with wonder at their new-found freedom from the scourge of their former situation. While they walked away, one of them, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus to give thanks. And Jesus praised the man and blessed him more.

Today many of us are unhappy and lifeless because we are a people trained to complain, to begrudge, focus on the ugly and the bad. Most of the time, we see that which is wrong while ignoring the many things that went right.

Your wife serves you your daily food, and you say: how salty! Your mom buys you clothes and you say: it doesn’t fit. Your husband comes home with money and you blurt: this is not exact! Like the 9 lepers, we receive the blessing and casually brush it aside, without taking time to appreciate how much we have been given.

Many people are not happy because they do not appreciate the blessings, big or small, that come their way.

Consider this: your healing from sickness may not be instant but see, you are still alive. You may be jobless now, but it’s not the end of the road for you. You failed that exam but there are coming opportunities to do better. For everything, there is something positive and beautiful and worthy of gratitude.

Conditions around us are not perfect, because there is no perfect life on earth. And yet, when we learn to appreciate the good things that come and learn to say thank you for them, we are blessed another time and yes, we also bless other people with our joy and optimism.

A friend of mine recounted with pride the habit of her two sons, who after eating their meal, and before cleaning their table, would say: thank you, mom! What inspiration these simple words give their mother.

Every Mass is a thanksgiving to God. We are here primarily to thank God, not to complain, ask or request for something. “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.” And after Mass, we ought to continue thanking the Lord and the people around us for the kindness they show. It may not be perfect, but our gratitude makes nearly perfect the experience of being blessed.