Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time  

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Jerome,

Pax Christi semper vobiscum!

Each time we begin our Sunday Mass, I always invite everyone to recall their encounter with God during the past week. I am certain that there are many who can remember right away, off the top of their heads, instances of God’s work in their lives during the week. Yet, our recollection of God’s involvement in our lives is rather intentional. It would be very easy to forget His blessings, especially when we are preoccupied with so many other things in our daily affairs. Being mindful of God’s presence every moment of our life means being intentional of our recognition of His presence. This attitude was exemplified by one of the lepers that Jesus healed in the Gospel story this weekend.

A sense of our gratitude to God is always connected with faith. Our consciousness to recognize the goodness of the One who gives us His blessings allows us to understand more fully the benevolence of God. Each time we come together for Sunday Mass, our communal affirmation of God’s goodness is unified. We call this a communal worship. We listen to God’s Word, we sing our songs to God, we share Jesus’ Body and Blood, and we are finally sent with the blessing and mandate to live what we heard. Does it not resonate with the encounter of the leper who took time to return and thank Jesus as soon as he recognized that he was healed? If you go back to the text of the Gospel, there is one line that notes that the thankful man was a Samaritan. It seems like an insignificant comment. Why was being a Samaritan suddenly a point of interest? Well, it surprised Jesus. He was expecting that the nine Jewish men who were healed would return to thank Him. But instead, it was a Samaritan, considered by the Jews as their political enemy, who dared to return to acknowledge what Jesus had done for him. Have we ever thought about what God is expecting of us? Or have we ever thought about what God awaits from us to do for Him? Or are we just complacent and expect that God will do something for us each day? How do we perceive our relationship with God? Is not a relationship a mutual response of both parties?

Perhaps we could start recognizing it is the little things that manifest the work of God in us each day. We may want to bring them forward to the altar each time we present God our offerings. Our offertory procession during the Mass should call our attention to the sacredness of the ritual that speaks our gratitude to God. We mean to say, “Lord, I am coming to You, grateful for what You have done for me and my family. Receive the fruit of our labor during the week. May it be pleasing to You.” Once again, does this resonate with the attitude of the leper that Jesus healed in the Gospel reading this weekend? When we approach the sanctuary to bring our offerings, it is a gesture of presenting ourselves to the One who gives immensely while we honor and acknowledge His generosity to us. Surely, we cannot outdo the generosity of God. But I am certain that when we choose to be generous with Him also, more blessings than we can even imagine are prepared for us.

Be grateful always. Our gratitude speaks of who we are and moves us to honor the One who is generous and merciful with us always. God bless. I shall see you next weekend.

Sincerely in Christ and Mary,