Homilies by Fr. Alan Phillip  - click here for more homilies

28th Sunday (C) A Gratitude Attitude

     Why do witches wear name tags?  So they can tell which witch is which.

     Where do witches like to swim?  In Lake Eeeeerie!


     One day a group of children was studying the many ancient and modern wonders of the world. At the end of the course, they were asked to list what they personally thought were the Seven Wonders of the World. The following got the most votes:


1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids.

2. Taj Mahal.

3. Golden Gate Bridge.

4. Panama Canal.

5. Empire State Building.

6. St. Peter’s Basilica.

7. China’s Great Wall.


     However, there was a quiet little girl who hadn’t turned in her paper yet. The teacher asked if she was having trouble coming up with seven. The girl replied. “Yes, I am. I can’t quite make up my mind because there are so many.”  The teacher suggested, “Tell me what you have so far and maybe I can help.”


     The girl picked up her paper and read, “I think the Seven Wonders of the World are:

1. To touch.

2. To taste.

3. To see.

4. To hear.

5. To run.

6. To laugh.

7. To love.”


     The little girl was very astute. She was aware that there are many impressive “wonders” that we humans have built. But she also knew that we couldn’t build anything, if it were not for the wonders of who we are and all that we can do. 


     We can see and hear and feel. We can think and learn and reason. We can wonder and dream and imagine. We can laugh and cry, dance and sing, plan and choose. We can give and receive love. We have mental abilities, physical agilities, emotional and artistic capabilities, personality endowments and an array of talents yet undiscovered.


     St. Augustine said, “People go abroad to wonder at the heights of the mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.”  


    Once we stop and wonder about human life, as the little girl did, we are moved to gratitude, gratitude for who we are, how we are made, and all we are capable of.


     Then we move on to the marvels of creation all around us, not only the beauty of mountains, oceans, flowers and sunsets, but also for food, clothing, shelter and all that makes life possible.


     Than we move on to all the people in our lives for whom we are grateful -- parents, teachers, friends, and all.


     Then we move on to all the gifts of faith, that God so loved us as to send his Son, to suffer, die and rise for us. We are grateful for forgiveness, for the Holy Eucharist, and for the hope of eternal life.  For Mary and all the saints. There is so much we have been given.  The list is almost endless.


     Do you ever feel depressed?  Try gratitude for a cure.  Hannah More wrote:

“When thou hast truly thanked the Lord 

for every blessing sent,

but little time will then remain 

for murmur or lament.”


     Now, in today’s gospel, Jesus teaches us the importance of saying thanks.  I believe Jesus practices what he preaches.


     So think for a minute of the Last Judgment scene in Matthew’s gospel, Chapter 25.  Jesus tells those on his right, “Come, O Blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you welcomed me.  I was sick and you visited me.” … and on and on he goes (Cf. Matthew 25:31-46)  He is talking about kind deeds. Then he says,  “Whatsoever you did to one of these least of my people you did to me.”  He takes every kind deed you do as done to himself. 


     Have you done any kind deeds this week?  I’m sure you have.  How many kind deeds have you done in your lifetime?  How many diapers changed?  How many meals cooked?  How many chauffer runs?  How many words of encouragement, or sympathy, of praise?  How much forgiveness?  How much love expressed?  Jesus takes all that as done to himself.  So guess what he says to you now, through me?


     He says, “Thank you.”  That’s what he preaches.  That’s what he says.  “Thank you very much for every kind deed done to the least and to me.”


     When people are grateful, they often express it by giving a gift.  Flowers, candy, an apple to the teacher.  Here at Mass we have the perfect gift to express our thanks.  We offer the gift of Christ to the Father.  In Eucharistic Prayer #2, we say, “we offer you the Bread of life and the Chalice of salvation, giving thanks…”  In Eucharistic Prayer #3, we say, “we offer you in thanksgiving this holy and living sacrifice.”


     The Father accepts our gift of gratitude, and gives us a gift of gratitude back.  He gives us the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion.  Here at Mass we have a holy exchange of gifts of gratitude with God.   Amazing!


     Journalist W. J. Cameron said, “A grateful heart hath a continual feast.” 


     Guess what we will be doing in heaven? 

     Having a continual feast, giving thanks.  

     Why not begin today?








Favorite Jokes
Hope you enjoy these!

The late comedian Victor Borge once said, "Humor is the shortest distance between people." With that in mind, I try to begin my Sunday homilies with a joke. It not only gets people laughing, but it also wakes up the preacher! I want to share with all of you who visit this website some of the better jokes I have found in recent years. Most of these have gotten good laughs, some guffaws, and of course a few groans.

Some reflections: --- No husband has ever been shot while doing the dishes --- If you really look like your passport photo, you need the trip. Some puzzling thoughts: --- If you turned a Chinese person around a few times, would they become disoriented? --- Can you buy an entire chess set at a pawnshop? --- If space is a vacuum, who changes the bags?

© 2019, Fr. Alan Phillip, C.P.. All rights reserved.