A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME –CYCLE “C” – 10/13/19 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
You know, one, out of ten, is not a very big number. One out of ten is only 10%. That’s a pretty small percentage of anything. We hear “one out of ten” and we think that well, that’s not a very big deal. Until you start to look at some of the statistics. For example, one out of ten people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water. This means that the water they have available to drink is either killing them or making them sick. All of us sudden, one out of ten seems like that’s way too many people. In 2019, nobody should be dying because they are contaminated drinking water. World censuses tell us that one in ten people living in the world today are over the age of 65. Only one in ten. I was surprised by this, but it’s probably because of my age, and because I have been around almost sixty years, that I know a disproportionate number of people over the age of sixty-five. In Catholic world, there’s more than 10% over the age of sixty-five. And we, as Church, have got to all be concerned about that. It’s also true that approximately one out of ten people are left handed. Only one out of ten. I’ve been left handed my whole life, so, again maybe I notice it more than most, but there are a lot of left handed people. Maybe, when you’re left-handed, we just gravitate more towards each other, but I’m always running into left-handed people. But only one out of every ten people are left-handed. And they are all “right-brained”.
Today in the Gospel, we hear about another one out of ten statistic. There are ten lepers. And these ten very sick individuals come to Jesus and ask Him to heal them. Jesus does heal them. He tells them to go and show themselves to the priests. And on the way there, one of them, a Samaritan, realizes that he has been healed, and he goes back to thank Jesus. But only one of the ten. And it was the Samaritan one, the one that everybody would have least expected to go back, and thank a Jewish preacher. The big question, of course, Jesus even asks it, “Where are the other nine? I mean, let’s be clear about this. Leprosy was a most horrible disease. You got leprosy, and your life was over! They kicked you out… of your family, your school, your friends, your town, your work, and yes, even your church. People were afraid of you if you had leprosy, because they didn’t want to catch it! With leprosy, your body just rotted apart. You could go to bed, and wake up the next day without fingers, or an arm, or your nose! Leprosy was horrible. And these ten folks were just completely healed by Jesus, and only one of them turns back to say “thank you”? What’s wrong with these other nine? Here’s where we want to be in the minority, in the one in ten.
God has also saved all of us. You can see where I’m going with this, right? God has saved all of us from our sins. Which, believe it or not, sin is worse than leprosy. Leprosy can kill you in this life. But Sin can get your soul sent to Hell for all eternity. If that’s the choice, I use my left hand to sign myself up for leprosy over hell, any day! We have so much to be grateful for!!! And far too often, we just like the other nine lepers, we take the healing and all that God has done for us, and then we completely forget about saying “thank you”.
Can you imagine how hurtful that is to God? We need to develop a much greater sense of gratitude and appreciation, and recognize to Whom it is, that we owe our greatest gratitude! And it’s not Netflix and PlayStation. We need to be grateful to God every day. Every day.
In just a few weeks, we’re going to read this exact same reading again. Do you know when? Yeah, on Thanksgiving Day. But we should be grateful every day, not just on one Thursday at the end of November. And we should be able to be grateful without pumpkin pie. What is that? Dear God, we’re grateful for all our blessings, now we’re going to eat some pumpkin pie to show our gratitude to you. It’s like, we think, that by taking a few pumpkins off of God’s hands, is showing our gratitude. Eating pumpkin pie with Cool Whip on top, is NOT an acceptable way of showing God our “Thank YOU”. We need a Spirit of Gratitude about everything.
Jesus, the Eternal Word of God, is still healing all of us today. Maybe it’s not from leprosy, but our souls are being healed. If we turn to Jesus in trust, He can cleanse us of the most basic of all human ailments: SIN! As St. Paul writes today in our Second Reading, to Timothy, Jesus the Word of God, is unchained. He’s on the loose and He is going to change all of us, if we let Him! He remains faithful to those who are faithful. And all of us, who have died to sin with Him in Baptism, shall also live with Him forever! This incredible gift of new life, of being restored to communion with God, Jesus offers to all people of Faith, even Samaritans, even left-handed people, even people from Zionsville! And when we accept His love and healing, the only proper response is gratitude!
+ May God bless us as we seek Him, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!