The Gospel, according to Luke (17:11-19)
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going, they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
REFLECTION: Jesus, in today’s Gospel makes this reply; “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Jesus’ reply was in response to the one leper who returned to Jesus to thank Him. Ten lepers were healed but only one thanked Him.
I was blessed to have worked for 42 years in the aerospace industry as a Design Engineer. I received a very good salary, promotions, management position, and the times that I voluntarily looked for a job or had to look for a new job, it was always provided and compensated well. All this, I used to think it was all me and even pated myself on the back thinking, “Carlos you’re great.” This occurred for about 30 of the 42 years of my engineering career. It was around 30 years into my career that I had a complete spiritual transformation in my life that opened the eyes of my heart. It was then that I realized that all my successes were God’s blessing and graces on my family and me. It was from that transformation that I started to realize and understand how much God was raining His blessings on me.
Throughout our life, God is always blessing us but sadly and too often we take all His blessings for granted and some people may even think it is luck or something they deserve. We go on our lives too busy and so focused on ourselves that we forget who created us and who we belong to. We become more like the other nine lepers who failed to properly express their gratitude to Jesus.
Ten lepers were healed and only one of the men is not like the others. He is the only one who turns back, praising God with a great/big/loud voice – Whatever has happened, this has happened: this man has really gone through a complete or completed transformation. To be oblivious to the fact that God is blessing us or, even worse, to take credit for His blessings as if it were earned by our own efforts, would be a slight to God. Therefore, we must open the eyes of our heart and offer the only proper response to God and that is to glorify Him with a thankful heart.
Whether we are struggling in our faith journey or may feel we are in a good place with God, the fact is, God has blessed you and I far more than we realize and far more than we deserve. So, it is important to understand how to respond properly to God’s abundant blessings.
Two responses, a proper and improper, are illustrated for us in this story of Jesus cleansing the ten lepers. Only one of the ten responded properly and it teaches us all that …
We should respond to God’s blessings by glorifying Him at Jesus’ feet from thankful hearts, and with profound gratitude.
We should glorify Him with much fervor, crying out to Him with passion. We should, literally and interiorly, fall on our face before Him, at His feet, and thank Him, over and over and over again. Doing so will always help us to remember the truth that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God. An unmerited and undeserved gift of grace.
ACTION FOR THE DAY: Today, reflect upon the depth of the gratitude in your own heart for God’s blessings. Are your responses more often improper, or do you regularly perceive the graciousness of God? If you lack in more fullness of gratitude, then ponder this one leper in today’s Gospel.