THORNS IN THE PILLOW -- INGRATITUDE

Clergy Corner by Fr. Robert Falabella

Among the most painful of experiences in this life on earth is to be the victim of ingratitude, especially from those we love -- ingratitude expressed by an ongoing forgetfulness or indifference to some goodness or kindness given to that person. We recall what must have been a painful disappointment to Jesus when only one of the ten lepers returned to acknowledge his gratitude for being cleansed from his leprosy. “…ten were cleansed…Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17)

The recent Christmas season, while a happy one for many, has also been a time of heavy sadness for others, as the wounds of ingratitude, received in the past, are again opened up in the intensified loneliness experienced during this period.

There are those, however, who dealt with this incessant specter of loneliness by anticipating the holiday of Christmas, as a quiet day of prayer and compassionate   concern on behalf of those souls, like themselves, suffering from the indifference and ingratitude from others, but also using those dark moments as opportunities of grace to thank God on behalf of those who have overlooked and failed to thank and acknowledge God for His goodness to them. After all, being thought of and gifted with Christmas presents from others can never compare or compete with the heavenly  Father’s Christmas Gift to us of Jesus Christ Himself -- for “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that those who believe in Him will have eternal life” -- the Christmas Gift that is forever!!

God’s gift of free will, however, to choose to love Him or reject Him means there can be those in our own life who can freely choose to love or reject us -- with the same  eternal effect -- either being eternally in the joy of God’s presence by retaining His image and likeness, as exemplified in expressing in our lives God’s way of loving and caring for us {CF: Matthew 25:31-40} or, through our rejection of being in God’s image, failing to bring God’s  concern and love to others; therefore any son or daughter who fails to bring the love of God to their parents, or anyone else God may have placed in our lives, has before them the stern judgment of God being eternally excluded from HIS Kingdom {CF: Matthew 25: 41-46}. In this Gospel of the teaching of Jesus we have the absolute requirement that will qualify one to enter Heaven -- which is the eternal  environment of being forever accepted and loved by the Family of God and NEVER ALONE!!


P.S. In the spirit of this reflection, may I thank all of you who prayerfully remembered me during this Christmas season, with it’s deeper confirmation of the heavenly Father’s love for all of us as revealed in Matthew 25.

 

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