Sirach 50: 22-24
1 Corinthians 1: 3-9
Luke 17: 11-19
Happy Thanksgiving! It is going to be a great day! I personally have always tremendously enjoyed Thanksgiving, and this year will be no different. One of my blessings is the opportunity to journey with people who struggle. The things people are going through are intense, with health challenges, and job search, and family stresses. However, when I ask them to spend an hour doing absolutely nothing but listing the things for which they are grateful – wow! The stuff is incredible when they sit back and reflect!
In our gospel reading today, it was very evident what the suffering of the lepers entailed. They were unclean both in physical terms and ritually. They were abandoned to live amongst themselves and were not permitted to get anywhere near a Jewish priest or the temple. Now, Samaritans and Jews did not intermingle and yet here, in the midst of suffering, they are all the same. They are all in need of help. When Jesus heals them, He does not separate them by Jew or Samaritan – He just hears their cries and answers their prayers.
Isn’t it great that Jesus does not look at us as who we are, or where we have been, but rather where we can go and what we can do? Jesus instructs the healed lepers to go show themselves to the priests so they can again be ritually clean, they do this to carry forth the mission of Christ. All Jesus wanted in return was a “thank you”.
Brother David Steindel-Rast, a Benedictine monk who established the Gratefulness Project several years ago, wrote “The root of joy is gratefulness. It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” This year, give God a great big ‘ol smile, regardless of what is happening in your life, smile at Him and say “thank you”. He loves you so very much, and we so often forget that, but when we say “thank you” it again reminds us how much He loves us.