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cappie

TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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cappie

As Jesus was walking toward the end of his personal journey, this group of ten  called out for a miracle. Their appearance would cause them to be shunned by other members of the community. From a distance,  they begged for mercy. Jesus was moved by them and he sent them to see their priests. Immediately as they turned to walk away, they were healed. At that moment, they received two gifts. First, they were cured by Our Lord; second, they were able to resume normal lives among their families and friends.  

 In the context of this Eucharist (which is a Greek word meaning Thanksgiving)  we will give thanks in the liturgy.  The celebrant says “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”  We respond, “It is right and just”

These words sum up today’s Gospel reading from Luke. One of them after seeing that he had been healed ran back and fell before Jesus’ feet and offered his thanks.  Why?  Did this man’s mother teach him the value of expressing gratitude when he was younger?  When begging for alms, did he express gratitude to everyone who gave to him?  We don’t know.  But in this one instance, we see a man who upon receiving God’s grace, instinctively turned back to say thank you.  He didn’t wait until after he had followed Jesus’ instructions.  He didn’t wait for a specific day set apart for gratitude.  Jesus had acted and the Samaritan man knew that he had to respond.  His healing was completed and made holy by his expression of gratitude to Jesus.

How can we follow the example of this man?  How can we live ‘eucharistically,’ that is a life permeated with thanks?  

First I would say, don’t wait…..don’t wait to say thank you.  You never know if you’ll have another chance to express gratitude.  Whether you’ve received a gift from a friend, a kindness from a stranger, or an answer to a prayer, don’t wait.  Seize the moment and offer your thanks. 

 Second, take a moment and think back to key moments in your life.  Think back to some of these occasions and think about the figures in your life that made these events possible.  If you’re able, send a note expressing your gratitude.  We couldn’t have done these things on our own.  Somewhere at some time, someone devoted time and energy to our well-being.  Let them know how you’ve been blessed by their actions. 

 Third, start and end your day with a short reflection.  In the morning think through your day:  the work you will do, the people you’ll come into contact with, the uncertainties you face, the possibilities there are for joy and acts of kindness, those whom you have been asked to pray, the situations where you may need God’s help.  Then be mindful of these throughout your day and as you encounter them, offer to God.  

Eucharistic living is not just about saying thank you but about our response to God by living fully into the life we’ve been given.   Jesus healing of the lepers was pure grace and He didn’t rescind this act of mercy because the other nine failed to say thank you.  That is the ineffable mystery of God’s love, a love given in spite of our deserving it, and that is very good news.

 When we hear Sunday’s Gospel we hear it as a reminder that we are to give God thanks and praise for all the material blessings that we have received.
 
As we hear the Gospel this Sunday, we might hear it as a reminder to give thanks for the gift of faith that we share with the Samaritan and Naaman.
 
Like them we have the faith that enables us to recognize the presence of God in our world and in our lives. For that, “Let us give thanks to our Lord our God!”
 

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