As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17: 11-19)
Truth be told, we are all moral lepers. The human race was infected with mortal selfishness by original sin. Christ saved us, not with a mere command, but by his Incarnation, life, suffering, and painful death on a cross. How many of us render him sincere, heartfelt thanks for all he has done for us?
Not to live with an attitude of gratitude towards God is more than being impolite – ingratitude is ugly because it’s positively unjust. Gratitude, on the other hand, is one of the most beautiful flowers in the whole garden of virtue. It directly contradicts self-centeredness, self-indulgence, and self-absorption. It builds bridges, unites communities, and softens hearts. It encourages and inspires. It cuts through discouragement and counteracts depression. It opens the soul to the truth and releases anxiety. It brings smiles and gladness wherever it blooms. What a pity that it is as rare as it is lovely!
Jesus cannot resist a cry for pity. For him, a soul in need is an obligation to help. He needed no convincing, no cajolery – these lepers cried out to him from the depths of their hearts and automatically his heart was moved. We see it over and over again in the Gospels – his heart being moved to miraculous action by the needs of those around him. Of course, that same sensitivity was the motive for his coming to earth in the first place – love simply can’t hold back when it sees others in need. This truth about Jesus can be the source of our confidence in him, but it should also be the source of our own activity in the world. We who proclaim Him as our Savior need to share also the beatings of his heart, his desire to do as much good as possible; so that our hearts will not beat in vain. Our gratitude to Him is best expressed when we live selflessly.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, never let me forget that all that I have and all that I am is a gift of your goodness. Teach me to live with the attitude of humble wonder and gratitude that you praised in the Samaritan. For all those people who never thank you, I thank you now
Gratitude is the virtue that notes when we have received a gift. Taking on an “attitude of gratitude” recognizes the fundamental truth that all is gift. This attitude truly transforms the way we see the entire world, for once we recognize we have received, we then have something to give. Without gratitude, we focus on our own lack; we become anxious takers, believing that there is not enough for us and others. Without gratitude, we accept good things as simply our due. Without gratitude, we rob ourselves of the joy of generous giving.