Scripture Reading: Luke 17:11-19
In today’s scripture reading Jesus gave ten lepers something far more significant than a shilling: He restored them to physical wholeness. Yet only one man responded with that precious word, “Thanks.”
Two things make this episode unusual. First, only one of the ten men returned to give thanks to Jesus for the healing. Since Jesus made a pointed comment about this, it highlights the direct connection between gratitude and faith. One precious gift, faith, should lead everyone to the proper response, is gratitude. An obvious message is that every Christian should be so grateful for the gift of faith-that-leads-to-salvation that they will praise God daily for so wondrous a gift. We believe in God’s promise of salvation, and we recognize that He died to save us. When we stumble and fall through personal sin, the Sacrament of reconciliation once again restores us to spiritual wholeness. Grace upon grace, gift upon gift! Praise and thanksgiving for God’s tender mercies should well up in us throughout the day, every day!
The second unusual detail in this gospel segment is that it was not the nine Jewish men, but only the Samaritan who demonstrated his gratitude for being made whole. He returned, throwing himself at the feet of Jesus in thankfulness. Jesus had every right to be sad, seeing that only one person dimmed it fit to return and thank him for the healing, especially since the other nine men were fellow Judeans. Jesus did not “need” their thanks; He had experienced rejection before. But He knew that the insensitivity of the nine men gave a glimpse into the condition of their heart and mind. They may have been cured of leprosy of the body, but they now had spiritual leprosy of the mind, a condition of ingratitude and ungratefulness. One lesson for us today in this scripture passage is that Christian should not expect to be rewarded with praise and thanks for doing what he or she is sent to do. After all, the Master was rejected and forgotten; so that will be His disciples’ destiny as well. But just as importantly, we need to do a self-examination of our own attitude of gratitude towards God. Hopefully we all pray in gratitude at mealtime. But what about the rest of the day? Are we aware of the priceless gifts that have been showered upon us? Faith, Hope, Love, the awesome Incarnation, the sacrificial death of Jesus for my salvation, my very life and breath, my family, and many, many more…am I taking these for granted? If not, what is my proof?
We need to daily examine our attitude of gratitude it is to help us avoid contacting spiritual leprosy of the mind, an insidious disease for the lax Christian. We need to be reminded of who the Giver of all gifts is; that all is grace; and that a response is demanded from us. The Bible mentions the word thanksgiving (in it’s many variations) about one hundred and forty times, which helps us to remember our obligation. I pray that thanksgiving already is, or will soon become, a habit on your daily journey with God.
MASS: GREEN 2 Cor 8:1-9; Ps 146:1b-2.5-6ab.6c-7.8-9a (R.1b); Accl. Jn 13:34; Mt 5:43-48
1. Thank God for this reflection today
2. Lord, I have been ungrateful to you in so many ways and I ask for forgiveness.
3. Holy Father help me to endure my neighbor when he/she fails to show gratitude to me.
4. Pray for all rich persons who see the gifts of God, a result of their personal efforts.
Exercise: Always be thankful
Meditation: 1 Thessalonians 5:18