28th Sunday: Are We One of the Nine or the One Out of the Ten?

The Gospel presents the healing of ten lepers. They were hideous, having horrible sores all over their bodies. They had bells which they rang while calling out continually, “Unclean, unclean.” The healthy would do everything possible to avoid them. 

Jesus told them to go and show themselves to the priests in the Temple to be healed.  On their journey all ten were cleansed of their disease.  So why didn’t nine of them return to give thanks to Jesus?  Perhaps they were in such a hurry to catch up doing all those things they hadn’t been able to do they chose not to make time?  Or perhaps they were never taught to say, “Thank you.”

It is rather shocking to think that some people could fail to appreciate the gifts they have received either from God or others.  Some people only see the negatives or bad in life, and fail to appreciate the positive or good.  Others do not believe that they should be grateful to anyone for anything.  Do I usually see the good in life, or am I constantly absorbed by the bad?

When I recover from the flu or any sickness, do I thank God that I am feeling better, or am I upset that I felt so poorly before?  When a former friend or an estranged relative wants to reconcile, am I willing to move on with the future, or do I stay mired in the past? When a difficulty of life has been removed, do I keep it alive in my mind by dwelling on it? We have been sick, and we have been healed.  We have been estranged, and we have been re-united. We have been lost, and we have been found.  Christians are optimists.  If we are negative in certain areas of life, then we need to bring this negativity to God. 

One of those healed lepers returned to thank the Lord.  He knew that Jesus had healed him.  He knew that he received a grace from God and made time to show his gratitude.  Jesus noted the one who gave thanks and the nine who did not.  He waits for us to also show our gratitude; especially by joining others every weekend at Holy Mass to give Him thanks.  Our presence at Sunday/Saturday Mass visibly shows our willingness to take time out from our other activities to express our gratitude for all the blessings we have received that week.   

Were not all ten made clean?  Where are the other nine? Are we even aware of God and His blessings in our life?  If so, do we go on in life as if nothing has happened to us?  Where and how do we show our gratitude and give thanks?  Are we one of the nine or are we the one who returns to thank Jesus?

Fr. Tom