NOVEMBER 10. Ord Time B. Wk 32. Wed. Lk 17. 11-19
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ Ad he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’
The teaching in today’s reading is designed to reveal a simple truth; - Jesus appreciates it when we give thanks for his gifts and blessings; - and he is saddened when we take them for granted and do not bother to give thanks.
It is easy to take gifts for granted, and something we need to be on our guard against it, especially when it comes to divine gifts. How many people for example express their appreciation for the gift of Faith, or give thanks for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, or the gift of Mary, the Mother of the Church, or the sacrifice of the Mass, and even life itself?
We need to understand, Christ’s wisdom goes well beyond the simplicity of the events in his life, and this reading is a good example. We are meant to apply his teachings to our lives!
Why is it I do not give thanks and praise to God for creating me? Why do I take the gift of life for granted; - along with all the other gifts; - such as Confession, Eucharist and Mary?
We should not evade this question because it is extremely important. The refusal to give thanks to our creator is something we need to ponder, because what it illustrates are the sentiments in our heart, namely; - “I have no need to acknowledge God, or turn to him, or praise him, or even say sorry to him for all my failings; - I am complete within myself, and I do not need God!’
The best indicator of this attitude of self-sufficiency is a refusal to attend the Sacrament of Confession, which equates to saying, “I acknowledge my failings, but there is no need for me to approach God to say sorry; - or to ask for his forgiveness,” which is the attitude revealed by the actions of the nine lepers today!
They approached Jesus and begged him to heal their sufferings, and when he did so they felt no need to say thanks! It is almost as if they believed God had a duty to provide for their needs and desires; - and as a result he is only doing his “duty” towards them!
Such a concept borders on lunacy, as it fails to acknowledge, firstly that we have a creator, and secondly, that we are sinners who have a need for God’s mercy; - but we all know this type of thinking is common in today’s world, where human beings credit themselves with all their wisdom and abilities; - rather than their creator!
We need to ponder the words of Christ to the one came back and said thanks; - “Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they?” This; was followed by; - “Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you!”
The implication here being; - the refusal to acknowledge God or his gifts did not go unnoticed!
Gospel Acclamation 1Th5:16
For all things give thanks to God,
because this is what he expects of you in Christ Jesus.
First reading Wisdom 6:1-11
Kings, your power is a gift to you from the Lord
Listen, kings, and understand;
rulers of remotest lands, take warning;
hear this, you who have thousands under your rule,
who boast of your hordes of subjects.
For power is a gift to you from the Lord,
sovereignty is from the Most High;
he himself will probe your acts and scrutinise your intentions.
If, as administrators of his kingdom, you have not governed justly
nor observed the law,
nor behaved as God would have you behave,
he will fall on you swiftly and terribly.
Ruthless judgement is reserved for the high and mighty;
the lowly will be compassionately pardoned,
the mighty will be mightily punished.
For the Lord of All does not cower before a personage,
he does not stand in awe of greatness,
since he himself has made small and great
and provides for all alike;
but strict scrutiny awaits those in power.
Yes, despots, my words are for you,
that you may learn what wisdom is and not transgress;
for they who observe holy things holily will be adjudged holy,
and, accepting instruction from them, will find their defence in them.
Look forward, therefore, to my words;
yearn for them, and they will instruct you.