In today’s Gospel, Luke recounts the story of the healing of the lepers. At this time, lepers were one of the most marginalized and isolated groups. In order to avoid spreading leprosy, which is highly contagious, they were not even allowed to live with their families. Those who had leprosy were without hope because there was (and still is) no cure for the disease. Lepers were considered unclean and, therefore, sought purity. When they encounter Christ, they recognize Him as someone who can heal them and grant them purity. When Christ heals the 10 lepers, and he does. He then tells them to show themselves to the priests so that they may be welcomed back into the community. However, only 1 man of the 10 comes back to offer praise and thanksgiving to Christ. And Christ’s response is, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
How often do we ask something of God in prayer and receive it (or receive something better) but forget to give thanks? How often do we forget to give thanks for our everyday blessings (a job, family, food, a roof over our heads, a car to get us to work, etc)? The Gospel acclamation today is “In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Jesus Christ.” That seems difficult, right? What if our circumstances are less than ideal? What if we have a lot on our plates or are going through a tough time? It seems impossible to give thanks when those are the circumstances, but we ought to look at those circumstances as an opportunity to unite our suffering to that of Christ on the Cross and give thanks for his Passion and Resurrection. The best way we can continuously offer thanksgiving to God is to stay close to His sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Eucharist means thanksgiving and, by taking part in the Sacrament, we are taking part in the suffering, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are recognizing that he laid down his life for us in order that we may be saved. He became man so he could say to each one of us, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
In this season of thanksgiving, may we not take for granted all our blessings. May we praise God for all His works and remember that our faith with save us.
Dakota currently lives in Denver, CO and teaches English Language Development and Spanish to high schoolers. She is married to the love of her life, Ralph. In her spare time, she reads, goes to breweries, and watches baseball. Dakota’s favorite saints are St. John Paul II (how could it not be?) and St. José Luis Sánchez del Río. She is passionate about her faith and considers herself blessed at any opportunity to share that faith with others. Check out more of her writing at https://dakotaleonard16.blogspot.com.