REFLECTION FOR TODAY
November 25, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” Luke 17:17–19
Happy Thanksgiving. Can we thank God enough for all He has done for us? Thanksgiving is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. Today as a nation, we thank God for the blessings and protection He has given us. We thank God for the prosperity we enjoy, for our freedom of speech and religion, and for the generosity and good will of all people, our immediate family and Church family.
Today’s Gospel describes how one of the ten lepers Jesus healed, a Samaritan, returned to Jesus to express his gratitude while the nine Jewish lepers did not return to thank the healer. Jesus asked the pained question: “Where are the other nine? The episode tells us that God, too, expects gratitude from us
Gratitude is central to our Christian faith; this was illustrated by one of the ten lepers that was healed by Jesus. The other nine who were healed also went about their business, not returning to the source of their healing to thank Him. This one leper, who was suddenly no longer a leper, returned to Jesus, glorified Him, fell at His feet, and thanked Him.
This one leper was a foreigner, a Samaritan, but he manifested a faith that we must all strive to imitate. The faith of this Samaritan was evident by the fact that he knew he needed to not only be grateful for the grace of healing but that he also needed to express it.
Today’s Thanksgiving is an opportunity to think back on what we have been given…and to give something in return: thanks. Actually, “thanks” is too small a word. We are here to give gratitude. We should call this day “Gratitude-giving.” In gratitude, we count our blessings. In gratitude we are called to reach out to the poor and needy in our society.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we are reminded that of all the things for which we must be grateful, nothing is more important than our gratitude to God for the immeasurable graces He has given us. But as the story goes, it is clearly very easy to overlook the importance of our response to God’s blessings. Only ten percent of the lepers responded with such an expression. Therefore, it is helpful today to examine the many reasons we should be thankful and should work to express that gratitude to God.
On this Thanksgiving Day and always: 1). Let us be thankful to God. Let us thank God for giving us the gifts of life and health, for providing for our spiritual and physical needs, for giving us our families and friends, and for offering us the grace of salvation through Jesus, our Lord and Savior. 2) Let us be thankful to our parents, friends, and benefactors. Honoring one’s parents is the most basic level of gratitude, and that is why we have the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and mother.” Let us also be thankful for the countless good people in our lives, each of whom has brought his or her own special gifts to us and has touched our lives.
Reflect, today, upon the attitude that you have toward the many blessings God has bestowed upon you. Begin by considering the central blessings of God’s creation and His saving acts of love. From there, try to ponder the many small ways that God has been with you, guided you, strengthened you, and blessed you abundantly. If you do not see these clearly, then use this day to consciously listen so that God can reveal them to you. As you see your blessings, respond as this one leper. Turn to Jesus, glorify Him, fall at His feet in prayer and thank Him. Doing so will fill you with the same saving faith granted to this one leper.
Lord, You have bestowed upon me blessings beyond my imagination. I realize that I will never fully understand how good You have been to me and will never be able to express my gratitude adequately enough. Please do fill me with a grateful heart. Help me to see Your action in my life and to respond to You as this one leper. Jesus, I trust in You.