In the 17th chapter of the gospel according to Saint Luke we find the episode of a band of ten lepers who shouted at Our Lord, because they were not allowed to get too close to non-lepers, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” Our Lord did not ask them what they wanted, as he did when a blind man approached him. He simply said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” Now, those who had been considered lepers needed to show themselves to the priests in order to obtain a certificate of no longer being contagious. So their going to the priests was in itself an indication that by the time they got to the priests, their leprosy would have been healed. And so it was. But in their excitement and joy over now being able to rejoin normal human society rather than live apart from healthy people, nine of the ten forgot to go back and thank Our Lord. Only one remembered to do so, and he was not a member of the Jewish community, but a Samaritan—a group with whom the Jews were not on good terms. The one who came back to thank Our Lord fell at Jesus’s feet—a dramatic indication of his gratitude. Our Lord’s reaction shows that he wished an expression of gratitude. “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” And then he said to the man at his feet, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
It’s interesting to note that the lepers asked help of Jesus, the human wonder-worker. Then, when the one came back, Our Lord says that he returned TO GIVE THANKS TO GOD. And he goes on to say, Your FAITH has saved you. Thus Our Lord makes it clear that the cure is the work not of a mere human being but rather of God through human faith in God, and that thanks are owed to God.
On Thanksgiving Day, let us be sure that while celebrating a holiday and a wonderful tradition, we don’t overlook God’s goodness to us and don’t forget to thank God for his constant blessings which make our life possible and so enjoyable. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.