TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Ingratitude is a crushing response willfully negating the self-emptying love and efforts of another who stands in solidarity with us when we are in the dust. Love is reciprocal. Love is the emptying of each other’s being to replenish and complement whatever is lacking in another person until that worthy other is completely integrated into himself/herself, in society and is fit for the kingdom of heaven. Love is an ongoing covenant of exchange, of sacrifice and gratefulness; it shows appreciation to substantiate each other’s selflessness and bounteousness in ways we can never repay with palpable items.
God and Christ are our perpetual victims of ingratitude. The “give me” and “I want” culture are persuasive and dominant in today’s world. In this culture, there is no respect for life, for persons, and love; every individual is a disposable conduit until we obtain our material and corporal short-term satisfaction. God and Christ receive the same treatment. We dog them with our wants and needs and ignore them in our fortune. We fixed our eyes on the Cross – only when it is convenient for us.
The parable of the wicked husbandmen is the epitome of humankind’s lack of appreciation for the trust, love and generosity of God. Christ’s Passion and his execution are beyond thanklessness. The parable of the ungrateful lepers’ shows the depth of our blatant disregard and indifference towards the divine when we honour only our ego. Thankfully, the gentle mastery of Christ surpasses humankind’s ungratefulness. Even when we do not appreciate the benevolence of the Father and the Son, they are still mindful of our human condition and stand ready to assist in our respective plights (2Tim.2:8-13). For this reason, Jesus inquired about the other nine. Where are they? “Were not all ten made clean? In other words ninety-nine per cent of the times, we forget or we willfully neglect to show our appreciation to God (Lk.17:11-19).
Naaman’s saga is a touching story of human integrity, acknowledgement and gratefulness. Elijah also, his story is an archetype of God’s relationship and his stewardship in his relationship with the wretched of the earth. God stands in need of nothing material or tangible from us. He lives in the praises of his people. A humble contrite heart is more pleasing to the Lord than sacrifice. Where is our humility, our contrition, our acknowledgement and our thankfulness for all the wonders God works in our lives on a minute-by-minute basis every day?
From the rising to the setting of the sun, I will praise you, O Lord my king. You have been my refuge long before I was conceived. I thank you for the wonder of my being.