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Fr. Tim’s Homily for October 9th, 2016

Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time-C

Weekend Two:  Homily Before Lay Witness Talk

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2 Kings 5: 14-17

2 Timothy 2: 8-13

Luke 17: 11-19

 

Our world tells us this message all of the time, and it is a lie:  “The more power, prestige, property, popularity and stuff that you get, the happier you will be.”

Jesus teaches us differently:  “The more grateful you are for all of God’s blessings in your life, the happier you will be.”

Today’s Gospel shows us this lesson.

Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem and meets ten lepers.  One is a Samaritan, an enemy of the Jews.

The lepers cry out:  “Jesus, Master!  Have pity on us!”  And Jesus did.  He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”  On their way there, they noticed that they were all healed.

Then what?  Nine of them continued on their merry way.  Only one of them – the Samaritan – turned around and came back to thank Jesus.  And Jesus said, “Where are the other nine?  Has no one but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

This is the only time in the Gospels where Jesus ever demanded thanks.  All of the rest of the time He left that act of graciousness up to us.

The lesson?  Only I can make the decision to be grateful.  No one can do this for me.  And a grateful heart makes for a happy person.

Fulton Oursler tells a story about an African-American woman who helped to raise him when he was a child.  As a youth he used to mock her for her faith.   Before every meal she would bow her head and pray, “Much obliged, Lord, for this wonderful food.”

One day he said to her, “The food is going to be there whether you pray or not.  So why do that?”

She answered, “Food always tastes better when you have a grateful heart.”  She went on, “When I was a little girl there was an old preacher who taught me a very important lesson.  He said, ‘Every single day, look for God’s blessings, and thank God for them.  If you look for those blessings every day you will indeed find them.’”

And then she added, “But this morning I was sitting on the edge of my bed, and I couldn’t think of a single thing to thank God for.  I thought and I thought…  And then, from underneath my bedroom door, came the aroma of coffee brewing in the kitchen.  And then I said, ‘Much obliged, Lord, for the coffee.  And much obliged for its fine smell.’”

Years later the woman was dying.  And Fulton Oursler and some others were at her bedside.  Fulton thought, “I wonder what in the world she’ll find to be grateful for today.”  The woman opened her eyes and looked around.  She smiled and said, “Much obliged, Lord, for such fine friends!”

How was she able to do this?  Every day she looked for God’s blessings in her life.  And every day she found them – because she had a grateful heart.

I am a grateful, happy steward of God’s bountiful blessings.

All that I have is a gift from God:  my life, my time, my talents and my treasure.  God wants me to receive these gifts from Him gratefully, to develop them with an increase, to share them generously, so that each person gives as they have been blessed and each person receives as they need.

Stewardship as a way of life is all about becoming an even better disciple of Jesus each day – and with a grateful heart that enables me to see God’s blessings all around me and to be a happier person.

I hope that you have received your stewardship packet in the mail by now.  If you have not received yours, please let us know in the parish office.  We want every household to have one so that you can read its contents and be ready to make your stewardship commitments next Sunday.

To assist you in your decisions, there is a Ministries Fair in the Saint Joseph Social Hall right after Mass today.  Many of our ministry leaders will be there to answer questions you might have after looking through our Ministry Catalog.  There will be no sign-ups at the Ministries Fair, no pressure to join.  Just a chance to find out more about ministries here in our parishes.  Anyone in Saint Joseph and Nativity Parishes can sign up for any ministry in this catalog, no matter which parish they belong to.

There will also be free food and fine fellowship for us all at our Ministries Fair.  So please stop by after Mass.

[And right now I would like to introduce a fellow parishioner, Michael Hughes, who will speak to us about how he is embracing stewardship more fully in his life.]