On Sunday, you will hear a familiar story about “lepers” and “gratitude.” For me, it’ll be one of those “gut moments” where I tend to show that this is an issue I take rather personally. In a parish community, I don’t believe you can ever thank people enough for what they do. It should be immersed in a parish’s DNA: treat others with respect and be grateful for what people do.
As a younger priest, I once had a particularly unpleasant assignment that, in one year, had me interacting with some 206 individuals who needed canonical assistance. By year’s end, I had heard back from a total of 8 saying “thank you” (although one was a snarky “thank you, but you should have finished this quicker.”) Jesus had 1 out of 10 return to say “thanks.” That’s a batting average of .100. I had 8 out of 206 which computes to .038! (Not much higher than my college batting average – a different silly sadder story – sigh.)
Here’s the point: our culture is hard edged, rapid paced, and few people have “time” to show simple courtesy much less be authentically grateful for the acts of kindness of others. And I truly believe we are losing an important side of our very humanity by relegating gratitude to the dustbin of forgotten virtues.
Even more to the point: Christians hold to the truth that the Triune God has interacted in human history to bring us what we could not attain for ourselves – abundant life that will not end. Are we as Christians even remotely grateful, and if so, how do we show this?