November 28, 2019 –
For the Scriptures and reflections for this day in Ordinary Time, click HERE.
“Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
In the United States today, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day. This is right in line with what the Church throughout the world celebrates at the end of the Church year. The Christian with his soul rightly ordered cannot meditate on the “last things” without thanksgiving welling up in his heart.
In today’s Gospel Reading, Jesus healed ten lepers, nine being Jewish, the tenth being a Samaritan. Out of those ten, the one who was a foreigner was the only one who returned and thanked Jesus. Only ten percent of those who were healed showed gratitude. Jesus did not feel offended at this, but He surely felt hurt: not for His own sake, but for the sake of those nine. Because gratitude, which grows only in the soil of humility, is the door to further blessings in our lives. It’s our choice as to whether to open that door or not.
As a general rule, when a Jewish leper was healed, he had to go to the local priest to confirm that he was now clean, so that he could be permitted to worship with the general public again. For the Samaritan, more was demanded, because the Samaritans had their own priesthood: not in Jerusalem, but near Mount Gerizim in Samaria. So this demand of Jesus required a greater act of obedience for the Samaritan, because of the travelling involved. And yet, while the demand was greater for the Samaritan, he was still the only one to show this gratitude for the gift of healing that he had received.
Today’s readings provide us with an opportunity to reflect upon our own spiritual disposition. Do we beg God for a special favor, but forget to show gratitude by offering a sacrifice of thanks when our favor is received? Today’s readings provide us with answers as to why some of our prayers are not answered. They teach us that we are healed of all that afflicts us only when—from the soil of humility—we show gratitude to God for the blessings that He has bestowed on us from the moment that we were created.
Starting today and in the weeks leading to our celebration of Jesus’ birth, we can ask the Holy Spirit to always remind us to be most grateful to the Lord Jesus for His love, His grace, His mercy and His salvation. We can ask the Lord to help us, in turn, to look for opportunities to be instruments of his peace, to carry out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy for others, so that we will grow in our faith, and receive even further blessings.