GIVE PRAISE TO GOD
(Biblical reflection on the 28th Ordinary Sunday [Year C] – 9 October 2016)
Gospel Reading: Luke 17:11-19
First Reading: 2Kings 5:14-17; Psalms: Psalm 98:1-4; Second Reading: 2Timothy 2:8-13
On the way to Jerusalem He was passing along between Samaria 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.” (Luke 17:11-19 RSV)
Today’s Gospel incident is a lesson in thanksgiving. It would seem that nine out of the ten lepers were not in the habit of thanking people. This surely had to be one of the greatest gifts any of them had ever received. Maybe we should excuse them by saying, “They were so excited over their healing that all they could think of was jumping on the nearest ox-cart for a ride home to show their families.”
Strangely, however, Jesus didn’t think of that excuse. He said, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner? (Luke 17:18).
How about us? Is the only time that we turn to God a time of trouble? Are the only words we speak with Him words of petition? Do we forget the Lord’s love for us in everyday things like fresh air, sunlight, food, friends, life itself?
If we don’t realize that what is great about our life is not what we do for God, but what God does for us, we will miss the whole joy of thanksgiving. Jesus really did not personally need the thanks of the other nine lepers. He would survive without it. So when He expressed sadness at their ingratitude, it wasn’t a matter of Jesus feeling sorry for Himself “because nobody appreciates me.” He was feeling sorry for them. They were the losers. The greatest joy of their healing would have been the opening of their hearts, the deepening of their love for God who had healed them.
This greater healing and deeper blessing they had missed. They had missed the deep inner peace and joy of thanksgiving.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for giving me the opportunity to know You. I lay my life before You and surrender myself to You. May my heart always be filled with praise for Your love for me. Amen.
Jakarta, 6 October 2016
A Christian Pilgrim