Vocation and Gratitude Attitude

Reflections on forthcoming Mass readings by Tom and April Hoopes.

Oct. 14, 2007, is the 28th Sunday in ordinary time (Year C). It is also Vocation Awareness Sunday. Note: Other Vocations Sundays are Priesthood Sunday (last Sunday in October), Vocations Awareness Week (the week after January’s Baptism of Our Lord feast), and Good Shepherd Sunday (the Fourth Sunday of Easter).


SerraUS.org offers the parish-based program “Called by Name.”

Vocation.com offers a parish-based adoration for vocations program that is promoted by the U.S. bishops.

EPriest.com offers “Best Practices” resources to help parishes learn from the success of other parishes. Click “Best Practices” and “Vocations Promotion,” for these:

“Traveling Chalice and Statue Spur Vocations,” about St. John’s Parish in Foley, Minn., in the Diocese of St. Cloud.

“Knights Energize Youth & Churn Out Vocations” about St. Boniface Church in Lafayette, Ind., Diocese of Lafayette.


Take some time after Mass to visit the statue of St. Joseph or Mary in your parish.

Pray out loud with your children for the courage to follow whatever vocation God asks of you.

At dinner, tell positive stories about priests and nuns you have known.

FranciscanFriars.com has some great vocation stories. Click “Vocations” then “Religious Brothers” then “meet the brothers.”

Hawthorne-Dominicans.org features a video about religious women’s vocations.

USCCB.org allows you to watch the excellent “Fishers of Men” video online.


The Singing Nun (the songs are a bit dated, but the film addresses contemporary issues like abortion and pornography); Pope John Paul II (the Hallmark and CBS versions are the best. The anniversary of John Paul’s election is Oct. 16).


Second Kings 5:14-17, Psalm 98:1, 2-3, 3-4, Second Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19

Epriest.com provides excellent homily aids.

FamiliaUSA.net offers Sunday activities based on the readings. Click on “Next Sunday Ideas” and then on “Oct. 14.”

Our Take

Today’s readings together teach about the necessity of gratitude for all of us. Gratitude is one of the four dimensions we should never leave out of our prayer. Together, these four parts of prayer spell the acronym “ACTS.” They are adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication (petition).

Both the Gospel and the Old Testament reading have to do with the curing of lepers. But they have other similarities as well. In each, a foreigner is cured by the power of God.

God dramatically shows, by curing lepers who are from outside the nation of Israel, that his salvation is for everyone. He counts on us to offer it freely to others, as well, not just to those who already know it. As the Psalm puts it: “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God.”

It is particularly striking that the only leper to remember to thank Jesus for his cure was the Samaritan — a foreigner. It is often easy for those who feel like they are in the “in crowd” to take God’s blessings for granted.

We should regularly thank God specifically for specific blessings. By calling them to mind and naming them, we teach our hearts to be grateful.

It’s an important habit to learn, because in the end our acknowledgement of God isn’t something extra or optional.

St. Paul warns that “If we deny him, he will deny us.” But “if we persevere,” the reward is very great: We “shall also reign with him.”

Tom and April Hoopes are editorial directors of

Faith & Family magazine, the Register’s sister publication.

It’s online at