Ingratitude vs. Gratitude

(Thanksgiving Homily - November 22, 2018)

Bottom line: Ingratitude lead to unhappiness. Gratitude leads to joy.

This homily will be in English, but I begin with a Spanish summary. En nuestra delegacion al Peru, una joven noto que los ninos alla tienen menos pero son mas felices que los ninos aqui. Una parte de la explicacion es que estan mas agradecidos, aun por cosas pequenas. Dare el ejemplo de un hombre que tenia una fortuna enorme pero murio solo y miserable. Al otro lado un hombre enviado a una prision de Siberia descubrio agradecimiento por un don muy pequeno. Ingratitud lleva a la miseria. Gratitud a alegria. Al samaritano agradecido Jesus dice, "tu fe te ha salvado."

When I got back from Peru earlier this month I mentioned the observation of one of the girls in our delegation. She noticed that the children we worked with have so little in comparision with children here - yet they seem happier than our children.

I've been thinking about that difference. Part of the reason is that children there in general seem more grateful. Gratitude even for something small lifts a person's spirit.

On the other hand a person can have a lot and be miserable. Consider Howard Hughes. One of the world's richest men, he began to look at life not as a gift, but as something to control. His fear of other people - and his morbid fear of germs - caused him to completely isolate himself. Possessing enormous wealth, he died alone and miserable.

An opposite example is the Russian novelist, Feodor Dostoevsky. As a young intellectual in Petersburg, he was arrested and sentenced to hard labor in Siberia. Life as a convict was so oppressive that he considered giving up in despair. One day Dostoevsky and the other convicts were walking in chains on their way to the forced labor. A girl saw him and ran up. "Poor unfortunate man," she said, "in the name of Christ, take this." And she place in his hand a kopek - a small coin, one hundredth of a ruble. Dostoevsky said that he treasured that kopek for a long time. The girl's gesture gave Dostoevsky hope in a miserable situation. He finished his sentence and went on to write novels that astounded the world.

You and I have not experience the torment of a Siberian prison. Still I can get down about things I don't have or about my aches and pains or my disappointments. On the other hand if I begin the day with gratitude, it lifts me up. When Dostoevsky was in prison he didn't have a single moment of privacy. I have the opportunity to spend an hour by myself with the Lord. I encourage people to use the TARP method - the T stands for Thank.

Ingratitude lead to unhappiness. Gratitude leads to joy. Jesus praised the Samaritan for returning to thank him. Let's follow his example. To the grateful Samaritan Jesus says, "your faith has saved you." Amen.

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General Intercessions (Prayers of the Faithful) for Thanksgiving Day Mass - Bilingue

From Archives (Thanksgiving Day Homilies):

Without Gratitude
The Fundamental Freedom - Freedom of Religion
Great Dividing Line
The Power of Gratitude
Thanksgiving and Salvation
Howard Hughes vs. Dostoevsky
The Radical Virtue
Thanksgiving Day 1988

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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