“Cultivating a thankful heart by making a conscious choice to not forget what God has done for us!”
(Based on Titus 3:1-7 and Lk 17:11-19 – Wednesday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time)
A catechism teacher conducted a small exercise in her 5th standard class on the Gospel Passage found in Lk 17:11-19 – the healing of the ten lepers.
She asked the students to imagine and tell what could be some of the reasons as to why the lepers did not return back to thank Jesus.
The following were some of the reasons that emerged:
One waited to see if the cure was real.
One waited to see if the healing would last.
One said that actually, I was already fairly okay and it was just a matter of few days, to be fine!
One said that he would see Jesus later as he wanted to meet his family first
One began to contend that he never really had leprosy and it was only a minor patch
One was so excited that he began to tell to everyone on the way of the miracle, but forgot Jesus
… we really do not know what were the actual reasons…
But the question is placed before all of us:
“Are we going to be like the nine who found some excuses and failed to thank the Lord?
Or can we be like the one who came back to thank the Lord?
The Gospel of the Day presents this interesting incident before us…
… reminding us to become persons of gratitude, to our Grateful and Generous God!
The story of the Healing of the Ten Lepers is a very familiar and popular incident.
In the Biblical days, leprosy, was one of the most dreaded diseases.
Leprosy finds its mention in the Bible in over 40 places.
One of the reason why leprosy is talked about so much in the Bible is that it is a graphic illustration of sin’s destructive power.
Incurable by man, many believed that God inflicted the curse of leprosy upon people for the sins they committed.
Leprosy became a disease that was so despised and loathed that those afflicted were not allowed to live in any community with their own people (Numbers 5:2).
A leper wasn’t allowed to come within six feet of any other human, including one’s own family.
The disease was considered so revolting that the leper wasn’t permitted to come within 150 feet of anyone when the wind was blowing.
Lepers lived in a community with other lepers until they either got better or died.
This was the only way the people knew to contain the spread of the contagious forms of this dreaded sickness.
When the Lord travelled through the region of Samaria and Galilee, He encountered the group of ten lepers.
In churches, we’ve seen lovely choirs of men & women, who raise their voices to the heavens, with their beautiful & melodious voices.
At Christmas, the splendid choir of angels, raised their voice to announce to the world, of the Birth of the Glorious Saviour of Humanity.
But here is another choir…A dreadful-appearing choir….Of Ten Lepers…
… singing their melodious chorus in loud exaltation, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” (Lk 17:13)
The chorus reached the ears of the Divine Choir-Master, Jesus!
Their pitiful cry… their pleading voice, echoed in the ears of the Divine Healer!
“Go, show yourselves to the Priest” (Lk 17: 14) were the words of the Divine Lord.
Lev 14:1-9 states that the priest must authenticate any cure from leprosy.
This was to allow the afflicted person to re-enter the society.
But as the lepers were on their way to show to the priest, they were cured!
Miracles occur, when one chooses to put one’s trust in God!
Wonders happen, when one obeys the words of the Lord, in faith and hope!
But one of them realized that He had been healed.
And so he returned and glorified God in a loud voice and fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him (Lk 17: 15)
Here is a big lesson for us all…
All the ten lepers sought for a free blessing from the Lord.
All the ten lepers expected a free miracle from the Healer.
Jesus, in His graciousness, did bless all of them with a free miracle.
Jesus, in His compassion, did shower all of them with a free blessing.
But just one among them, acknowledged the worth and value of that free gift
The rest of the nine, probably completely forgot the source of that free blessing.
Let us be reminded of this great reality: Every free gift in the spiritual world, is a call to cultivate greater, the spirit of Thankfulness!
But perhaps, this is a reality that we very often forget in our lives.
We take for granted the many many free gifts and blessings that are showered upon us.
Like the free offers, available at shopping malls and super markets, we gladly receive God’s blessings…
… but unfortunately, often, fail to acknowledge them and be grateful for it.
St Paul reminds us that it is not our merit, but the gracious mercy that always rescues us:
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another
… but when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us
… not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy…!” (Tit 3:3-5)
The one who returned back to thank the Lord, received not just physical healing, but also was doubly blessed with the gift of being saved!
The Lord showers His gifts on us…
Do I return back to thank God for His marvellous blessings?
Do I reduce my life to being a clatter of complaints or do I adorn my life with a litany of praises and thanksgiving?
Do I take all my blessings for granted and merely groan about my duties?
Ten people were healed that day, but only one came back to give thanks.
The one who returned to give thanks chose not to forget what Jesus had done for him.
Are we living as this grateful one or as the other nine?
Perhaps, we also end up giving a lot of excuses for not saying thanks…
… even to the extent of justifying our own selves and not acknowledging God’s Grace!
Many are the times, when our thanksgivings are like those of the nine …
… We receive, but fail to express thanks
… We are happy to get favours, but are miserly in saying thanks!
The secret of a thankful heart is a conscious choice not to forget what God has done for us.
Shall we also possess this Secret?
(Psst… once again… this too is a FREE offer…)
Let us today seek the intercession of St Martin of Tours – the patron saint of soldiers and beggars.
May his zeal expressed in his words: “Lord, if your people still need me, I do not refuse the work. Thy will be done”…
… inspire and motivate us!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “If it be God’s Will that the remedies overcome the sickness, return to God thanks with humility;