First Reading: Sirach 50:22-24
And now bless the God of all, who in every way does great things; who exalts our days from birth, and deals with us according to his mercy.
May he give us gladness of heart, and grant that peace may be in our days in Israel, as in the days of old.
May he entrust to us his mercy! And let him deliver us in our days!
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 138:1-5
I give thee thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing thy praise;
I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; for thou hast exalted above everything thy name and thy word.
On the day I called, thou didst answer me, my strength of soul thou didst increase.
All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, for they have heard the words of thy mouth;
and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD.
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,
that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge —
even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you —
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ;
who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Sama’ria and Galilee.
And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance
and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”
When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed.
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice;
and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan.
Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?
Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
I will never forget the first time I saw the 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ.” We’d taken a rare evening away from our first-born to catch opening night with friends. Of course I knew The Story, but seeing the events of Good Friday represented so realistically on the silver screen left me dumbfounded. Seeing Him—beaten, bloodied, tortured, and suffering because of my sins—was nearly unbearable. I found myself actually wincing, and had to avert my eyes several times as the story unfolded.
While the final credits rolled, I sat in somber silence. My gut instinct—what I honestly wanted to do in that moment—was to fall completely prostrate on the ground right then and there (regardless the disgustingly sticky theatre floor) both in profound remorse for my shortcomings and, simultaneously, with limitless gratitude for the gift of salvation made available through the power of the Cross.
And yet I stayed comfortably (and, as I later assured myself, sensibly) seated in my chair. I eventually gathered my belongings and left the theatre with our friends, just as was expected of me. The moment passed.
In today’s Gospel, ten lepers meet the Lord and cry out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Our Lord takes pity on them, and completely heals them all, yet only one returns to show gratitude for the gift he has received. He realizes that he owes everything to Jesus Christ, and, in that moment, praises and thanks the Giver of all good gifts.
Oh, my heart aches to think of just how often I see myself in the lepers who kept walking—the ones who were healed, yet failed to show gratitude even after their cries for mercy were answered. I cry out to Jesus all the time—for various intentions, for healing, and, ultimately, salvation itself—yet, how often do I return to thank Him? I owe Him everything, as I’m reminded in Acts 17:28: “in Him [I] live and move and have [my] being.” Yet, all too often, I allow the moment to pass. I move on to the next thing without thanking Him.
As Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States today, let’s not just move on. Let’s take a moment. In fact, let us take several moments to humbly and sincerely praise and thank God for everything He’s done for us. It is right and just.
Heather Anderson Renshaw is currently not drinking enough [coffee] to keep up with her five young kiddos. You can find out more about her here.