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” (Lk 17:17-19).
Bloodline doesn’t matter, gender doesn’t matter, nation doesn’t matter, ethnicity or race doesn’t matter. Ask Mary the mother of Jesus, ask Mary Magdalene, ask the woman who suffered from hemorrhages for twelve years, ask the Roman centurion whose slave was dying, ask the Samaritan leper what matters. Each of them will share with us that what matters is our faith in Jesus the Christ.
The lifeblood of Christianity is our belief, faith in, and developing our relationship with Jesus, the Son of God, who made his dwelling among us. St Irenaeus of Lyons (born in Smyrna about 135-140 AD and died about 202-203 AD) in his work Against the Heresies wrote: “The Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did through His transcendent love, become what we are, that he might bring us to be even what He is himself.”
That Jesus became one with us in our humanity so that we could be one with him in his divinity is something to be thankful for! Many times when we are feeling down, maybe it is because we are focusing on what we do not have or who is not in our life instead of being thankful for who or what we do have. A way to turn our frown upside down is to think about three things we are grateful for.
The leper from today’s Gospel helps us to take the next step. Once we become aware of what we are thankful for, we are to reach out and thank the one who made what we have possible. Our time on earth is too short to allow the temptations of indifference and complacency to take hold. May we be more aware and take action to reach out to those who are important in our lives and tell them how thankful we are that they are in it, how much they mean to us, and how much we love them. Make some time to thank God today for his constant presence, the wonderful gift of the invitation of Jesus to share in his divinity, and the Holy Spirit who leads us to love one another as he loves us.
Photo: I am thankful for the best day of my life, our wedding day. I am also grateful for the twenty-three years we had together!