Wednesday, October 5, 2016

October 9, 2016 - The Ten Lepers

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C

Reading I:
2 Kings 5:14-17
Reading II: Timothy 2: 8-13
Gospel: Luke 17: 11-19

An attitude of gratitude is one of the signs of a happy person. Jesus knows this. In the picture above, one sees Jesus blessing the one leper who returned to give thanks. However, we also see Jesus looking pensively at the other nine who are rejoicing over their cure, but are oblivious of the one who made it possible. Obviously, they are centered on themselves.

In his human nature, Jesus probably felt hurt that only one returned expressed his gratitude. However, he may also have felt sorry that they did not have the attitude of gratitude which would make them happier people.

We all have ups and downs in our lives. However, one of the best ways of pulling oneself out of the doldrums is to list all the things for which we should be grateful. Some people keep gratitude journals. They write 3 things a day for which they are grateful. Then, they try to not repeat.  As time goes on, they begin to notice the smaller blessings, e.g. the beauty of a flower, the breeze on a hot summer’s day, the smile of a friend.

When I was working in campus ministry at Xavier University in New Orleans, many of our students came from poor and difficult circumstances. However, they had a joyous manner. It blew my mind when, during prayer, they thanked the Lord for getting them up in the morning. Not being a morning person myself, I had never even thought of thanking the Lord for getting me up. Sometimes, students can become teachers for their instructors.

One day Sr. Ivan and I visited Church Point in rural Louisiana. I was taken to visit an elderly couple who lived in a small shabby house. However, they were such joyous people as every other word out of their mouths was praising and thanking the Lord. I could see why the Lord has such love for the poor.

Just as any good parent wants his/her children to be happy, so does our Heavenly Father and Jesus want this for us. Let us strive to develop a strong attitude of gratitude even on those days when everything seems to be going wrong.

Lord, you have blessed us in so many ways, we thank you for all that was, that is, and that will be.


  1. Dear Sr. Annette,
    I absolutely agree with you that gratitude contributes to a more meaningful life, and in today’s gospel reading, we see that it has a spiritual component that nourishes our soul. Gratitude lifts us to a higher level of awareness and resurrects our spirit. It also reaches deep into our soul bringing us in touch with the divine. When we are grateful we connect with an energy that is beyond the ordinary to a place of connection, not only with the person or circumstance (i.e. a sunrise, birth, flower, etc.), but with the Source of all that is, God Himself.
    Robert Emmons writes of gratitude, “it’s an affirmation of goodness,” and, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves.” We tune into the positive events in our lives when we pause to reflect on gratitude.
    It is hard to imagine the nine lepers not taking the time to give thanks to Jesus for the gift they received. They missed out on an opportunity to form a loving, lasting connection to Jesus. Maybe they never before experienced compassion and were just too jubilant in the freedom they were enjoying in the moment with their physical healing. The leper who did return to Jesus to express gratitude benefitted from spiritual awakening as well. His gift was many times multiplied as I’m sure he had increasing optimism, joy and understanding that enabled him to savor life anew.
    Taking the time to express gratitude to others is heartwarming. This past Sunday at our Scripture Sharing gathering, one of our members, Sr. June, offered a prayer of gratitude for our circle and the love and caring she felt for each of us. Every person present voiced an affirmation of that gratitude for we felt it in our hearts also. The news of Sr. June’s stroke the next day filled us all with sadness. Though unaware, she is being held in prayer by so many people. Love and gratitude are true gifts of the Spirit that give us a foreshadowing of Heaven.

  2. Sr. Therese MW, SBSOctober 7, 2016 at 8:08 AM

    The failure of the nine former lepers to thank Our Lord for such a marvelous cure seems a little difficult to understand. We do know, however, that besides disappointing Jesus they probably also deprived themselves of very special blessings connected with real gratitude. Psychologists recognize the benefits of this type of
    positive thinking and feeling. The following quotation is from Derrick Carpenter, MAPP:

    "The benefits of practicing gratitude are nearly endless. People who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice and reflect upon the things they're thankful for experience more positive emotions, feel more alive, sleep better, express more compassion and kindness, and even have stronger immune systems."

    Of course, the spiritual aspect is the really important one. Psalm 98 suggests that "all lands" should "Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds."

    At present, we are watching with bated breath the news about the horrible storm in Florida - hoping and praying that the people concerned will soon be expressing grateful thanks for their safety.

    In keeping with the words of the Alleluia for this Sunday, we'll try to remember to:

    "In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God ... in Christ Jesus."

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