Are you a grateful person?
The story is told about a customer who said to the waiter: “I’ll have some raw oysters, not too large nor too small, not salty nor too fat. I want them cold, and I want them quickly!” The waiter sarcastically blurted: “Yes, sir! With or without pearls?”
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 17, 11-19), Jesus tells His disciples the importance and value of gratitude—10 lepers were healed, but only one came back to thank and glorify God. Are you a grateful person, or are you a complaining, griping, demanding ingrate, laden with arrogance and entitlement?
Do you know what the problem of the nine ungrateful lepers was? They were so overcome by the healing and the blessing they have received, so much so that they forgot the Giver of their blessing. That’s the problem of so many rich and powerful people who become so focused on their blessings, and become so proud of their achievements and forget their dependence on God.
I remember talking once to a person who was proud and arrogant to God. Unable to make a breakthrough, I simply said to him in all earnest that he was loved by God, no matter what. He looked at me, turned misty eyed, paused and said: “Well, He has good taste.” Cute. But I know it struck a chord.
Quite tired halfway through our 13-kilometer “Walk with God” from Urdaneta to Manaoag, Pangasinan, last Oct. 5, a woman opened her car window, waving and shouting almost in tears, “Thank you, Father! Bless us, Father!” At first, I could not understand why she was thanking us. Then it dawned on me that she was grateful for the prayers and sacrifice we were offering in our walk. Yes, a grateful heart sees far, deep and wide, while an ungrateful heart has a myopic, shallow and narrow view.
“Bless us, Father.” This is such a powerful reminder for me. My distinctive duty as a priest is to be a channel of God’s blessings to His people, be it through the sacraments, prayers and the work I do. May I also be a blessing by my presence and words. In gratitude, may I continue to be a generous, humble and joyful source of God’s blessings.
We all are lepers that need healing. We all are sinners who need God’s mercy and forgiveness. “Have mercy on me, oh God, I am a sinner!” This is our starting point, and our constant, humble chant as we journey on to God’s heart.
A humble heart is a grateful heart. Why are you not grateful? That’s because you are proud. Simple.
Money can make us proud and ungrateful, and so it is that there are people who don’t even say “thank you” to waiters, drivers or helpers. Why? “I pay them. Why should I thank them?” Wow. See what money and power can do and undo?!
Next Sunday is World Mission Sunday. In gratitude, we who have received the faith, now share our faith, worldwide. As we have received missionaries from foreign lands before, now we send Filipino missionaries abroad.
Pontifical Mission Society director Fr. Esteban Lo invites you to “Pista ng Misyon” on Oct. 18, 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Cuneta Astrodome, Pasay City, to celebrate Extraordinary Mission Month to remind us of the Church’s missionary commitment, worldwide. Join the celebration, praying and sharing with His Eminence, Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, and celebrities like Cherry Pie Picache, Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes. For inquiries, please contact 863-88801; 889-58855 loc. 132; 840-50093; 873-13208. Free registration.
Think about this: “There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.”
A moment with the Lord:
Lord, help us to live grateful lives. Amen.
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