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RCIA – The 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Giving Thanks

October 9, 2010

Opening Prayer: O God, source of all gifts, we give thanks and praise to you for the many blessings you have bestowed on us. Help us to never take you for granted. Open our minds and hearts to hear your message for us today. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our brother who lives and reigns with you in union with the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

Recalling some phrases from today’s Liturgy:

  • His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child
  • The LORD has made his salvation known
  • All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God
  • If we have died with him we shall also live with him
  • if we persevere we shall also reign with him
  • But if we deny him he will deny us
  • If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself
  • And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
    and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him

Whom does this Liturgy console? Whom does this Liturgy challenge?

Today’s readings speak to us about saying thanks. How many times have each of us intended to say thank you but just never got around to it, or the times we said that we really want to get over to see so-and-so, but something happens and it’s too late? A thank you means a lot to each one of us, whether it’s from a child, a teenager, an adult, a member of the family or even a stranger. Why does the “thank you” mean so much to us? (RCL)

When have you been surprised by a thank you and when have you been disappointed when a thank you never happens?

We expect thanks from those we come in contact with each day for such things as holding the door for someone, or preparing a meal, etc. In return thanks is also expected of us in similar situations. Throughout our days we give each other gifts and thanks is expected in return. Our God is creator of all things, and all of those things he gives to us. He didn’t have to give us anything, in fact he didn’t have to create us, but he is a loving God and He gives freely. Our life and all that is in it is a gift from God. Have you thanked him lately?

You can say a prayer of thanksgiving to God or you can just smile in appreciation of all of his glorious gifts. A new born baby, a beautiful sunset, a clean bill of health, a good book, and on and on, all these things are from Him, our Creator.


Responsorial Psalm Ps 98:1, 2-3, 3-4

R. (cf. 2b) The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
his right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands:
break into song; sing praise.
R. The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.


Have you ever had the experience of having been taken for granted? Either someone took you for granted, or you took someone for granted. What does that teach us about being thankful and receiving thanks? (RCL)

Ingratitude is an illness more lethal than leprosy, though it might not seem so. The ungrateful heart recognizes no source of gift outside itself. If we owe no one our thanks, we need no one. We are lonely indeed. The ultimate consequence of this self-chosen, self-enclosing isolation is death of the spirit – the irremediable death we call “hell.” Jesus heals far more than dying bodies: he heals dying hearts. (M)

In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:18)

First Reading – 2 Kings 5:14-17

We enter this scene in the middle of things. Naaman, an army commander and adjutant to a foreign king, comes to Israel seeking a cure for his leprosy. Initially, he resents Elisha’s command to wash seven times in the Jordan, thinking a high ranking dignitary like himself would be cured by spectacular means, not by bathing in a puny Israelite river. But his servants help him see reason and he finally yields. His physical healing sets the stage for the conversion that immediately follows. The focus of the reading is less on the miracle than on the gratitude of this foreigner whose cure leads to his confession of faith. (LTP)

Recall that Naaman, who returns to give thanks to Elisha, is instructed that such a power to heal comes from God and that Elisha does not use his spiritual gifts for his own gain. Naaman takes two mule loads of dirt back to Syria where he builds an altar to give thanks to the God of the Israelites. (RCL) He asks for Israelite soil because of the belief that a god could not be worshipped in a foreign land. (LTP)

In what ways do we direct the recognition of good works to God, the giver of all gifts, and in what ways do we lay claim to such recognition as if it were our own power?

We are always receivers: we receive from God the gift of natural life, the gift of new life in Christ, and the gift of healing when the wounds of sin prevent us from living that new life. Let us not merely give thanks, but live lives overflowing with the spirit of thanksgiving. (M)

Second Reading – 2 Timothy 2:8-13

In Catholic liturgy, remembering isn’t simply the recalling of a past event. It’s a great mystery, but our conviction is that remembering makes the saving events of the past present in the now. So, what the author of Timothy asks is what we do every time we gather: remember Jesus and his death and Resurrection and experience anew his saving power. There is an extremely personal tone to this writing: Paul preaches the Gospel of Jesus, suffers for it, and does so willingly because though his hands are chained, his heart and the word of God are not. This is an uplifting and encouraging message. Paul suffers gladly because he knows his suffering is not useless, but benefits others – those “who are chosen” – and helps bring them to eternal life. (LTP)

Perhaps the words of Paul to Timothy also help us to reflect on our recognition of God’s faithfulness. God is not limited by human standards or conditions or boundaries. God does not respond in the way humans sometimes respond. In fact, the resurrection is a stronger reality than any obstacle that might be placed in the way of its proclamation. God is always faithful. God is always ready to forgive. God is always inviting us to be faithful but does not control us. In our freedom, we can choose to deny Jesus and in so doing bring rejection upon ourselves. Have you had times in your life when you questioned God’s presence, God’s will, God’s judgment, God’s love? (RCL)

The second part of this reading is a quote from an early Christian hymn. The dying and rising to which the passage refers is not just experienced symbolically in baptism, but also in the concrete physical sufferings and dangers demanded by carrying forth the message. The apparent contraction of the last two lines: “if we deny him, he will deny us” and “if we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” can be resolved by understanding that the faithfulness or unfaithfulness identified here is to God. Jesus always remains faithful to his Father and to his mission. Our lapses do not interfere with his truth. Yes the hard fact that some may, in their freedom, choose to deny Jesus, is attested in the previous line. By choosing to deny Christ, some will bring upon themselves rejection. (RCL)

Gospel – Luke 17:11-19

Today’s account of the ten lepers is unique to Luke’s Gospel. Leprosy – a blanket term for a variety of skin diseases – caused its sufferers to be separated from society and was associated with moral guilt as well.  Here the performance of healing is a sign of God’s kingdom. Luke frequently cites the openness of foreigners to the person and message of Jesus, as in this story where the sole leper to return and give thanks is a Samaritan. The Samaritan prostrates himself before Jesus – a gesture of recognition of overwhelming greatness and of adoration. His response of gratitude is the response of faith. He is “saved,” not merely “cured.” Jesus contrasts his reaction to those who did not return. Once again, ironically, a Samaritan provides the example to follow. (RCL)

Catholic Teaching

Think about the times you pray and the types of prayer you do.


The Catholic tradition lists five basic types of prayer: the prayer of blessing and adoration, the prayer of petition, the prayer of intercession, the prayer of thanksgiving, and the prayer of praise. Compare this list of prayer types to those you listed above. Are all five types listed? (RCL)

Today’s Gospel speaks directly about the prayer of thanksgiving. Today, in our society so much emphasis is placed upon individual rights and privileges that we forget God has given us everything. We think we deserve it, so why thank someone for what is already rightfully our? (RCL)

All of life and creation is a gift from God. How much more is the gift given to us in Christ by which life and creation is redeemed and set free from sin and its wages. The whole stance of the Church, therefore, is one of thanksgiving for the Church’s experience of the gift of salvation in Christ. (RCL)

The fullest form of our thanks to God is expressed in the Eucharist, a Greek word meaning thanksgiving. The Eucharist celebration is a profound thanksgiving for the Church’s experience of the gift of salvation in Christ. Our thanks need not take place only when the Eucharist is celebrated, but every moment and every need is potentially a springboard for thanking God. (RCL)

Te Deum – an early Christian hymn of praise, written about 500 A.D.

We praise thee, O God : we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship thee : the Father everlasting.
To thee all Angels cry aloud :  the Heavens, and all the Powers therein.
To thee Cherubin and Seraphin : continually do cry,
Holy, Holy, Holy : Lord God of Sabaoth;
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty : of thy glory.
The glorious company of the Apostles : praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs : praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world : doth acknowledge thee;
The Father : of an infinite Majesty;
Thine honourable, true : and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost : the Comforter.
Thou art the King of Glory : O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son : of the Father.
When thou tookest upon thee to deliver man : thou didst not abhor the Virgin’s womb.
When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death : thou didst open the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God : in the glory of the Father.
We believe that thou shalt come : to be our Judge.
We therefore pray thee, help thy servants :  whom thou hast redeemed with thy precious blood.
Make them to be numbered with thy Saints : in glory everlasting.
O Lord, save thy people : and bless thine heritage.
Govern them : and lift them up for ever.
Day by day : we magnify thee;
And we worship thy Name : ever world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord : to keep us this day without sin.
O Lord, have mercy upon us : have mercy upon us.
O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us :  as our trust is in thee.
O Lord, in thee have I trusted :  let me never be confounded.


Putting Faith Into Practice

Do you have a dedicated place of prayer in your home? If not, it would be good to have one, select a favorite chair or favorite room or favorite window. Create a space by placing on a nearby table a Bible, a candle, a crucifix or religious image, family album(s) and a notebook. Then each day take some time to sit quietly in prayer. Some days you may want to make a list of people or things that you want to talk to God about. Other days you might look through the family album and simply thank God for your loved ones and the many wonderful family experiences you have had. There are many ways to pray and give thanks to God; your ways will evolve over time. Try to begin and end each day with words of thankfulness and praise to God for the gifts you have been given. (RCL)

Closing Prayer – take a few moments and close your eyes. Invite God into the quiet of your heart. Speak to Him about all of the things for which you are thankful.

God, we give you thanks for the gift of life for the people who have nurtured our lives and helped us to know of your marvelous love; for all creation, the great and the small; for the gift of freedom which allows us to say yes to the gift of faith; for the gift of reconciliation which allows us to be generous in forgiving one another. God, you are the great gift of love. Thank you. (RCL)


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