Since I don’t want to let one of my mentors down: Fr. Jim Healy – who begins every homily with a joke ---- or allow you to be bored by my preaching – I thought I would begin with a joke today – so I don’t know if it’s a good one, but it is my best joke about gratitude. . .
So a large dog walks into a butcher shop carrying a purse in its mouth. He puts the purse down and sits in front of the meat counter.
“What is it, boy?” the butcher jokingly asks. “Want to buy some meat?” “Woof!” barks the dog.
“Hmmm,” says the butcher. “What kind? Chicken, pork, steak. . .” “Woof!” interrupts the dog.”
“Okay,” says the butcher. “And how much steak? Half a pound, one pound. . .” “Woof!” said the dog.
Amazed the butcher wraps up the pound of steak and finds just enough money in the purse to pay for it.
As the dog leaves, the butcher decides to follow out of curiosity. The dog enters an apartment building, climbs to the third floor – and begins scratching at the door.
Immediately, a man swings open the door and starts shouting at the dog for scratching at the door.
“Hey, wait a minute,” yells the butcher. “Quit shouting at the most intelligent dog I have ever seen.”
“Intelligent?” says the man. “Intelligent? Why this is the third time I’ve sent him out this week to get something --- and he’s gone off forgetting his key!!!!”
Some people are just incapable of being grateful – even if they have an intelligent dog who occasionally forgets ---- or even if they have been cured from the most dreaded disease known in their day: leprosy.
Rightly Jesus asks: “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?”
Certainly they noticed they had been cleansed. . . . weren’t they grateful ??? –
or had they been separated from their families and friends and society for so long because of their leprosy – they have forgotten how to be grateful??
Just in case we have forgotten how to be grateful – I will finish with a story. . .
It’s Great to be Grateful! By Michaelene Mundy.
What it means to be grateful. Being grateful means you notice something good that has happened or is happening in your life. It might be something that just happened like someone fixing your favorite meal -- even when it’s not your birthday.
When you take time to be thankful, ordinary things can become special: a cup cake tastes better if you slow down and enjoy it. Remembering that someone took the time to bake them is another reason to be grateful.
Why be thankful? It is hard to be thankful and sad – or angry – at the same time. Being thankful can make you feel good. Paying attention to the little things we have and the little things that happen can turn a boring day into a special day or an ordinary meal into a feast.
It is important to let others know when you are thankful for something they did for you or made happen. Even GOD likes to know when you are thankful. At the end of the day you can thank God for your family, your friends, or for things like snow that you had fun in.
Being thankful is a gift. You “honor” or “show your respect” for someone when you notice them or what they do for you and then show or tell them that you are thankful with a smile or a hug and a “Thank you.”
We can also hurt people’s feelings by NOT being thankful. Did you ever do something special for someone – like holding the door open or carrying something for someone – and they didn’t even notice? Did it make you feel sad?
It feels good when others say “Thanks” to you. It is like someone giving a gift to you.
How to be Thankful. You can show your thanks with a note, an e-mail, or a text. You can even stop the fun thing you are doing for a moment and whisper a thanks to God in prayer.
It isn’t hard to be thankful. It does take a little time, though. It is a wonderful habit to notice when things are good and quietly say to yourself the feelings that are in your heart.
To whom should we give thanks? You can thank your mom and dad for the gift of your life. But you don’t have to wait until your birthday. You can thank God for all the good people you have in your life: grandparents, friends, teachers, neighbors.
It is nice to show your thanks to people who take care of you or do little things for you. A friend who pushes you on a swing, your grandparent who takes care of you when your parents are gone,
your teachers who help you learn new things, the librarian who helps you find a good book, are all people to whom we can say “thank you.”
There are so many people to thank!
What to be thankful for? There are a million things to be grateful for. Things like your family and good meals to eat together. You can be thankful for a summer breeze on a hot day or for the toys and games you have.
But your probably don’t really need more and more stuff. Instead, you can be thankful for the things and people you have in your life.
And you can be thankful that you have people who love you and watch over you. These are the best gifts and blessings in your life.
Being thankful is a choice. Being thankful sometimes just happens and is easy to show. When someone surprises you with something nice, you may smile or jump up and down or give a big hug or say, “Thanks!”
But sometimes, showing gratitude and saying “thanks” is a choice. It is something you can decide to do. Since you want to let people know you appreciate them – and what they do for you --- you just need to make showing gratitude a habit.
You may hear people say, “thank goodness we have air conditioning,” or, “thank heavens I passed that test,” or “Thank God no one got hurt.” Being thankful is such a habit with some people that they often don’t even realize they are doing it.
Getting into the habit of saying “Thank you” to God is a very good thing. And it is also a very good habit to say “thanks” for all the good and kind things people do.
When you notice someone being kind, tell them so. It can make their whole day special to know that you noticed.
Every day can be thanksgiving day! Have you ever heard someone say, “count your blessings?” People often say this when bad things happen. By looking at all the good things in your life, it makes it easier to deal with bad things that happen sometimes.
At night, before you sleep, when all is quiet (except for maybe your little brother or sister or puppy!) remember to tell God how thankful you are. . . thankful for all that ways, all that is, and all that will be. AMEN!