The Blessings of Gratitude

Luke 17: 11-19
Wis 6: 1-11 / Psa 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 ten lepers had faith that Jesus could heal them, because they obeyed and were on their way to the priests. However, only one healed of leprosy came back to thank Jesus. The other nine were probably so excited about being freed at last from the scourge of this disease 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. They were healed physically, but only one was healed both physically and spiritually. Because of their lack of gratitude, the other nine lost their chance to gain the greater gift of eternal life.

Only one out of ten people live to the ripe old age of ninety or more. This healthy ten percent of the population are most likely those who 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.

This is essentially the message that today’s Gospel of Luke imparts. God’s generosity is multiplied in a grateful heart. Many people neglect to thank God once they have received what they are praying for. How would you feel if the person who received your favor never even took the trouble to thank you? If we displease God with our ingratitude, don’t be surprised if our blessings are short-lived. So how do we show our gratitude to God? By “paying our debts forward” to others in need, especially the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned.

These are the people who seem to be in a state of perpetual joy. From the moment they wake up, they praise and thank the Lord for another day, and keep in mind the blessings of the Lord in their lives, even for the little things that most people take for granted. Even for the pains and difficulties, problems and emotional hurts that they receive from others, they still thank the Lord for them, if only because these make them grow spiritually, and give them the opportunity to share in the cross of Jesus, drawing them closer to Him. These are the people who are truly blessed. Their wounds heal faster, their lives are happier, and they live longer. Let us learn how to be grateful in everything, for gratitude is the food of our soul, and the vitamin of our faith.

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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