Daily Reflection – 11/13/19
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)
Two words jump out at me when I read this Gospel . . . gratitude and love.
Gratitude stands out in this parable as well. “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.”
Gratitude is an enormously important human virtue. It starts with the realization of our blessings, an intentional act that requires effort and attention. The healed leper then “returns.” He changes the direction of his journey and returns to the one who bestowed great mercy. The next move is to glorify God, acknowledging that God is the source of this precious grace. The newly cleansed leper thanks Jesus from his knees. This is a striking expression of gratitude.
Finally, Jesus turns to this humble, faith-filled, thankful human being and says, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” Go. Go tell your family, friends and neighbors the marvels God the Father has done for you. Go proclaim my mercy to those who do not believe. Go live a life full of faith and gratitude. Go be merciful, in turn, to your neighbor.
Today, a leper invites us to ask God to increase our faith. Today, a leper models for us the beauty of genuine gratitude. When was the last time you pondered your many blessings, fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him?
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.
Gathered together each week, we hear the words of Jesus that challenge us to be healed of our pride, selfishness, anger, apathy, laziness and deceit. We are reminded to serve the needs of others, particularly the poor among us. Then we are sent out into the rest of the week to witness to all that we have known in Jesus. We work, we serve, we pray, we love, we remember and give thanks for all God’s gifts until we are drawn to gather around his table.
Prayer of The Day
I love you my Lord, because you are love itself. Forgive all that is in me that does not come from your love and does not reflect your love. If I am to become what you want me to be, it will happen only if I allow you to act in me.
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?