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Homily of Bishop Crean – 28th Sunday C – 9th October 2022

28th Sunday C

9th October 2022

Sacred Heart Church, Rushbrooke

“Gratitude and Appreciation”

My friends,

On December 10th 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated.

Prompted by the atrocities of WWII the newly established United Nations spelled out the extent of the rights of every person regardless of race, sex or creed. It was a landmark and remains so.

That doesn’t mean that every state and nation believe or practices the protection of all the rights listed in the Declaration. Which raises the ongoing question of deciding or recognising new rights. This is a problem. Where do you stop if at all.

Human Rights as in the Declaration lists what we refer to as basic human rights – essentially the freedom to live in dignity – personal freedom and liberty, food, clothing and shelter. Does that extend to central hearing or air conditioning? Hardly!

These thoughts come to mind when reflecting on the Readings for to-day especially the Gospel reading where just one returned to give thanks. We live in a ‘blest time’ in this part of the world because we are the beneficiaries of the post-World War II peace and the economic co-operation that emerged and grew from it. It has led us to have great expectations of life and a high level of entitlement. We take so much for granted and complain loudly when what we think is our due is not being granted. This culture of expectation and entitlement has become embedded in our thinking and is dictating the nature of our politics more and more. Its danger lies in its risk of self-preoccupation and self-indulgence.

The opposite is a sense of appreciation and gratitude and they come from being conscious that the blessings and good things in life are not automatic or guaranteed. Some are ours at great cost to others and in many cases, they are completely beyond our control.

And God – where is God in all this expectation we have? The Creator God we know is the giver of all the gifts – it is no credit to you or I that we have been so blessed. It is for us in turn to share them then and in doing so acknowledge they are not ours to keep to ourselves.

It is predicted we are going to have a tough winter ahead. It is being prepared for materially with various top up for energy costs and other potential demands and that is great and most commendable. But we ourselves must prepare spiritually and personally. This preparation is best begun with a sense of gratitude and appreciation for what we have – the resilience of faith, the solidarity of family and support of friends.

Gratitude and appreciation are foundation stones in life. They are like a storehouse of energy that flows into every corner of our lives whatever our circumstances.

To-day we are grateful for the story of the lepers who were cured and the one, a Samaritan, who came back and gave thanks.

May the gift of thanks and appreciation be a dimension of our lives every day.

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