Ingratitude, the root of all sin: A homily for the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (A)

1200px-SolanuscaseySt Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, said something interesting. He said that we often think that the root of all sin is lust or pride or anger or one of those “big ones.”  But, he said, those are simply symptoms of something else.  The root of all sin, according to the sound teaching of St Ignatius, is ingratitude.

I think he’s right.  Our first reading from Proverbs says that a husband should remember that his wife is worth more than the finest pearl.  If a man can remember that–if he remembers the treasure that is his wife, if he remembers to thank God for her every day–he will be a better husband.  Same with the wives. Parents who thank God for their kids, even in the hard times, are better parents.  Children who thank God for their parents are truly thankful for them are better sons and daughters.  Same with everything.  Especially our faith.  People who are truly thankful for their faith are better disciples of Jesus.

Yesterday, Solanus Casey was beatified in Detroit. Cardinal Tobin was there. Solanus Casey is an interesting figure. He spent most of his life as a doorman.  They almost didn’t ordain him a priest because he wasn’t deemed good enough, smart enough.  They did finally ordain him, but he was forbidden to preach of hear confessions.  They assigned him to the doorpost because he couldn’t cause too much trouble there.

That man was thankful for his position at the door.  He spent most of his life as a doorman, even a short spell here in Indiana in Huntington.  He could have complained, why didn’t I get a higher office?  how’s come I’m stuck here at the door while Father so-and-so is doing all this glamorous ministry?

That’s the problem the man with one talent fell into.  The others–the guy with 5 talents and the guy with 2–they were entrusted with more.  We shall never know why, expect that the master gave them what he gave them “according to their ability,” that is, he did what he did for a reason.  This guy with the one talent–he forgot to be thankful for what he had, unlike Solanus Casey, who was also dealt some “low cards.”

The reality though, is that one talent in the bible world was worth 6000 days of wages!  That’s a lot!  This guy–we shouldn’t feel too sorry for him!  he still had more than most. he was still quite blessed.  All he had to do was be thankful for what he’d been given and then spend it to the best of his ability.

We fall into this trap often.  We think, why do I have only this one talent? why am I stuck as a doorman?  why don’t I have his job? her kids?  their house?  their vacation?  their money?

And then we forget to be thankful for what we do have.

This Thanksgiving, let’s thank God for all our blessings, all of the talents he has given us.  And we thank God for the talents he has given to others.