Giving thanks, or not

(My images this week represent things I’m grateful for over the past year.)

Of the ten lepers who were made clean, why did only one, a Samaritan, return to thank Jesus for the gift of healing he had given them? Were they focused so much on getting the blessing of the priests, and thus be ritually cleansed, that they took for granted the one who actually made them clean?

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On a number of occasions in the gospels Jesus was surprised that foreigners were sometimes more open to his message than his own people, more receptive to God’s presence in their life than those who grew up schooled in the scriptures and in religious practices.

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It is clear from these stories that openness to God’s presence and action in one’s life does not depend on one’s religion. God’s presence is universal and accessible to all. (This is what we recently celebrated in the Feast of Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.)

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When I give thanks, I acknowledge my need as well as my gratitude. When I reflect on all that I am grateful for, I acknowledge that I am completed by the generosity of others. In the most far-reaching sense, I am grateful to God for the gift of life and the opportunities I receive each and every day to experience God’s love and to share that love with others.

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“Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18)

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