The readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time demonstrate the power that gratitude and thanksgiving have in our lives.
In the first reading, a Gentile, Naaman the leper, comes to Elisha, the Lord's prophet, for healing. Naaman was a man of considerable means and had servants at his disposal. Leprosy was a profound embarrassment for him. Even more embarrassing, Elisha refused to come out to meet Naaman, to lay hands on him and pray with him.
Paul wrote in the letter to the Galatians, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." Perhaps this passage shows how the readings for the 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time are interconnected. These readings tell us there is something within us that we perceive ever so dimly.
Since we are a people covenanted to the Lord, the readings for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time spell out the everlasting consequences of our everyday decisions, whether good or bad.
In the first reading, the Lord clearly speaks to His chosen people, "Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!"
I want to go home to my Father" is the cry of the Prodigal Son in the Gospel for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time. That is also the deepest cry of us as sinners.
The first reading reveals how depraved God's chosen people have become. God, depicted in human terms, precedes His threat to wipe out His people by first saying, "Let me alone...." Even in His threat of punishment, He makes Himself "vulnerable" by inviting Moses to bargain with him. Moses bargains, and God relents and renews His promises to Abraham's descendants. God's compassion is always greater than mankind's offenses.
The readings for the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time demonstrate that to know and act upon God's will for our lives, we need all the help we can get from Him.
The first reading asks the question: "Who can know God's counsel or who can conceive what the Lord intends?" It takes very little experience to realize that when it comes to understanding our own inconsistent complexities and how these relate to God's will, we humans are clueless.