Today’s Gospel highlights two types of prayer, namely, prayers of petition and thanksgiving.
At the outskirts of a village, Jesus encounters ten lepers. These lepers must have heard of the healing miracles Jesus had performed and they were certainly in need of a miracle. From a distance they cry out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” What does it take for us to ask Jesus for help? Do we wait until there is no hope left? Do we ask for what we most need? Or do we ask for what we most want?
Even in their desperation, the lepers humbly stayed at a distance, afraid to put Jesus in danger of catching their disease. Jesus doesn’t immediately heal them but tests their faith in Him by giving them instructions to go show themselves to the priests. How do we respond to Jesus’ instructions? Do we obey them even if we don’t immediately get what we are looking for? Or do we get frustrated because we want immediate results, and begin to doubt Jesus’ presence and power in our life?
Adding to their humility and courage, their obedience to Jesus’ command results in them being healed. They had just received the miracle that would restore them to full health and, more importantly, restore their dignity as full members of the community. Nine of them probably couldn’t wait to show the priests that they were clean and receive their status as full members of the community. They couldn’t wait to get back to a “normal” life.
But one of the healed was different. The Samaritan who returned knew what needed to be done first. He returned to Jesus, fell at his feet, and thanked Him. This is yet another important lesson for us. While we may not receive a miraculous healing every day, we are constantly receiving God’s grace and blessings in the seemingly random good fortune that comes our way. The call from a distant friend that brings us happiness. The smile of a stranger at a time we are struggling with our daily activities. Or the small miracle that occurs when something we need and have given up hope to receive suddenly comes to us through the charity of another. If we take the time reflect on our day in prayer, we will notice these graces God gives us each day.
That is why the Samaritan returned to praise God and give thanks to Jesus. He experienced the power of God in his life, and he was grateful. If we ask God for what we truly need, if we obey His promptings and instruction, and if we recognize the blessings He gives us, then we must always thank God for His presence and action in our life.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
Do you express gratitude to God for his abundant help and mercy towards you?