Today’s readings are about giving thanks, glory and praise to the Lord our God for the wonders he has wrought in our life… They are about remembering him with gratitude and never taking Him for granted… They are about doing our bounden duty and awaiting the crown of glory when the race is done.

The first and third readings talk about healing. In the First Reading (2 Kings 5: 14-17) the Syrian general Naaman goes into the Jordan, as recommended by prophet Elisha, and comes out clean, his flesh restored like that of a little child. He returns with a present to thank the man of God, who does not accept it – for he was not there to serve himself but the Lord. Extremely thankful, Naaman wishes to carry earth with which to build an altar for the Lord in whom he now believes, in his land of origin.

In the Gospel (Lk 17: 11-19), only one of the ten lepers who were cleansed return to thank Our Lord. An instance of kam’ zalem, voiz melo (once cured, one forgets the physician), a classic case of human ingratitude. The Master Physician notes that the lone grateful man whose faith had cured him is indeed a foreigner – a man from Samaria, a district that was anathema to Israel.

The two stories above are not about physical healing alone; they are about liberation from sin – yet failing to proclaim the Good News to the world. How many of us who stop everything to ask God for healings and successes also stop to thank God on receiving them?

The Anglican-turned-Catholic writer G. K. Chesterton in his Autobiography stresses ‘the idea of taking things with gratitude, and not taking things for granted.’ But alas, gratitude seems to be one of those rare commodities in our jet age. It is as though we expect everything as a right, not a favour. In our self-centredness no gesture of kindness from another touches our soul. Sometimes, a ‘thank you’ is a mere formality; and when it comes to God, hardly a necessity.

St Paul (2 Tim 2: 8-13) clinches it. He places before us the everlasting model that is Jesus Christ our Lord. Our Lord is faithful even to the faithless – because He can’t be any different. What a noble lesson for humanity. The Apostle of the Gentiles who, a little earlier in the letter to Timothy, had spoken of the good fight, the race, and about keeping the faith, now uses a fragment of a hymn from his area of evangelisation to convey the same message.

The point is: why do we sometimes deny Him? Why are we faithless? Is it mere weakness or is it malice? Sometimes we do not know that we are caught up in the web of the evil one. Let us break free. Let us wake up and think. Let us rise and speak. The Word of God is not fettered. Have faith, Jesus is the Light of the World; those who follow Him will have the light of life.