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)
Why did only one leper out of ten return to show gratitude?
I like to think that the reason why the Samaritan leper returned to say thanks is because he was thanking the Lord always and everywhere, including during his leprosy, and perhaps even because of his leprosy, since that disease had brought him to confide far more in the Lord for a cure. To not only confide but to believe that his plea for healing would be met.
He returns to say “thank you.”
The significance of those two words is akin to another phrase . . .” I love you.”
Two powerful phrases that are part of our lives and two powerful phrases that have an indelible and enduring effect on our lives.
Gratitude and love. They are part of our life as they were very much a part of the life of Jesus Christ. His thankfulness to His Father for the opportunity to save us from the tolls of sin and love for all that had been created by His Father.
As Christians, we have been taught the two Great Commands and we are expected every day to bring them alive in our thoughts, words and actions. With the world as it is, living the two great commands is difficult for most. But even more difficult is our ability to consciously and continually give thanks to God.
Like children, we may say a “quick word of thanks,” but then not really remain in a perpetual attitude of gratitude. That’s what we’re called to be as Christians, people who are constantly thanking God for the gift of our faith, of Creation, of Redemption, of the ability to pray, of the opportunities for us to love others, of the promise of heaven, of our family members, of our fellow Christians, and so many other things.
Here is where the transformative power of gratitude comes into play because gratitude is the homage of the heart which responds with graciousness in expressing an act of thanksgiving.
We become a person who thanks God always and everywhere — and learns how to thank others too — through prayer. The majority of our time in prayer should be in praise and thanksgiving if we’re ever going to be able to thank God always and everywhere. That’s a habit we need to form, in which we count our blessings and thank God for each of them. The more we do so, the more we see these blessings, and the more we acquire that attitude of gratitude that is essential for someone who is fully Catholic.
Look at the reverse of gratitude. Ingratitude leads to lack of love and kindness, and intolerance towards others. If we do not recognize and appreciate the mercy and help shown to us, we will be ungrateful and unkind towards others. Ingratitude is forgetfulness or a poor return for kindness received. Ingratitude easily leads to lack of charity and intolerance towards others, as well as to other vices, such as complaining, grumbling, discontentment, pride, and presumption. How often have we been ungrateful to our parents, pastors, teachers, and neighbors? Do we express gratitude to God for his abundant help and mercy towards us?
Today’s scripture tells us that our sins and our failures are no barriers to God. We are not contagious to Jesus. He still has the power to make us whole. So, on days that we are healthy and happy, we should give thanks and praise God. But on the days when we are the leper, this gospel is our hope.
Thank you, Father.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your loving kindness and mercy. Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving, and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me to count my blessings with a grateful heart and to give thanks in all circumstances.”
For us as Christians, it’s essential that we learn how to thank the Lord always and everywhere as a sweet duty that leads us more securely to salvation. Like the Jews in the desert, we can often be complainers, who obsess about what we don’t have rather than gratefully thank God for what we do. We can be eaten alive by envy such that even when those we love are blessed, we can be upset about it, because we personally don’t have those same blessings. If we’re not thanking the Lord always and everywhere, however, we will often not thank him sufficiently when he does something truly spectacular for us