A Heart Full of Gratitude

Luke 17: 11-19
Wis 6:2-11 / Ps 82

Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?
(Luke 17:17)

The reason why the world’s in strife:
We don’t thank God the way we should;
The secret to a happy life
Is a heart full of gratitude.

As Jesus continued His journey to Jerusalem through Samaria and Galilee, ten lepers met Him in a certain village. Standing at a distance from Him, they called out, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when He saw them, He said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. Then one of them, realizing that he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice. He fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said, “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 17:11-19)

Reflection

The nine other lepers were so excited about being freed at last from the scourge of leprosy and being healthy and clean once again that they could hardly wait to tell the good news to their family and friends. In their joy and excitement they forgot to stop and thank the Source of their miraculous healing. Thus, their healing was incomplete.

Only one out of ten people live to the ripe old age of eighty years or more. This healthy ten percent of the population are those who most likely possess grateful hearts. Not many people are aware of the power of this grace called gratitude. The reciprocal action of a grateful heart can result in exponential returns. Let me cite an example. Sis. Lucy, a member of our community, was a former Carmelite nun who asked me to edit the life testimony she was going to share in our breakfast meeting. She was so grateful for the favor, she asked how she could reciprocate. I replied, “Just pray for me, as I will be giving a “Tithing Talk” in our Tagum outreach on Saturday.”

The brothers in Tagum arranged the talk right after their breakfast meeting, which quite naturally ‘turned off’ the members. Being forced to stay to listen to a topic about parting with their money was not a very pleasant experience, and it showed in their dour faces. However, (to my surprise), the negative atmosphere in the room didn’t seem to faze me, as I stepped up to the podium and enthusiastically launched into my prepared talk. For the next forty minutes or so, I could feel the inspiration, the fire even, of the Holy Spirit. I was literally all fired up – my shirt was damp with perspiration, and in that airconditioned room, my wife noted faint mists rising from my body. The talk was a complete success. During the open forum that followed, all questions were satisfactorily answered. Even their chaplain stood up to express his appreciation. I could not explain where all this was coming from. It could only have been the powerul work of the Holy Spirit. When I met Sis. Lucy a few days later, I thanked her for her prayers, and related what happened. She smiled and said it was the prayers of her Carmelite congregation, to whom she had made a special request, in gratitude for helping her deliver her own successful sharing. No wonder!

I will bless the Lord at all times; praise shall always be in my mouth. My soul will glory in the Lord that the poor may hear and be glad. Magnify the Lord with me; let us exalt His Name together (Psa.34:2-4). Thank You, Father God, for healing us of the leprosy of ingratitude. Let our hearts be grateful for all Your blessings all the days of our lives, that we may never tire in serving You through others. Amen.

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