First Reading (2 Kings 5. 14 – 17) Psalm 98. Second Reading (2 Timothy 2. 8 – 13)
Gospel (Luke 17. 11 – 19)
This weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Coincidentally, two of the Sunday readings
illustrate gratitude. Jesus cures 10 lepers, but only one returns to thank him. Elisha cures
Naaman, and in gratitude Naaman urges him to accept a present.
The essence of gratitude is a grateful heart. However, its expression includes
acknowledgement of a gift, appreciation, and, if possible, some return.
In gratitude, therefore, we should acknowledge, appreciate, and make some return to God for
everything, whether he acts directly, as in the miraculous cure of the lepers; through humans,
like Elisha; or through material things, like water. It is always his gift.
For example, if a cancer patient is cured after an operation, chemotherapy, radiation, and the
prayers of his friends, should he thank God, the doctors, or nature?
The answer is all three. God has done everything. Calling the cure “natural” means that God
has done it in his usual way, through doctors and medicine. Calling the doctors responsible
means that they have co-operated with god.
God not only creates us, but also, at every moment, provides for us, says the Catechism of the
Catholic Church. As Jesus said, “not a single sparrow” alights on the ground without his
We can petition God about every need, says the Catechism: not just those that “influence the
march of history,” but also basic, everyday needs. Accordingly, we should also thank him, not
just when someone’s life is spared or a war ends but also when the traffic light stays green, we
find the item we were shopping for, or we finish a meal (“Grace After Meals”).
We should thank God for whatever he sends, whether welcome or unwelcome. “We often,
almost sulkily, reject the good that God offers us because, at that moment, we expected some
other good,” says C.S. Lewis. “God shows us a new facet of the glory, and we refuse to look
at it because we are still looking for the old one.”
We should thank him even for physical evils like climate change, storms, or fleas, whether or
not we understand his reasons for them. God “is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of
moral evil,” says the Catechism, but in his “wisdom and goodness” he has built “physical evil”
into his “good and ordered” world. We must never think that he cannot help it, or has to be
excused for it.
God’s providence the solicitude with which he guides creation “toward its ultimate perfection”
is concrete, immediate (or direct), and universal, says the Catechism. “God cares for all, from
the least things to the great events of the world and its history.” Nothing is hidden from him.
“Nothing is impossible” for him. With all our science, the universe “remains wholly subject to
him and at his disposal.”
“I form the light, and create the darkness,” God says; “I make well being and create woe: I,
the Lord, do all these things.” “I, the Lord bring low the high tree, lift high the lowly tree,
wither up the green tree, and make the withered tree bloom.”
Before our creator, whose ways are as high above ours “as the heaven are above the earth,” we
can only say, with Job, that “we accept good things from God; and should not accept evil?” As
St. Paul says, we must “give thanks in all circumstances.”
The best way to thank God is to participate in the Mass. The very word Eucharist comes from
the Latin eucharistia, “the virtue of thanksgiving or thankfulness,” As the Church says in most
of her prefaces, “we do well” to give him thanks “always and everywhere.”
It is in the Holy Eucharist Go gives us his supreme gift: his Son. How much time do we spend
thanking him after Communion?
This weekend, “let us thank him as we should” by attending an extra Mass just to say. “thank
In today’s first reading, the story of Naaman the leper is a typical example of how we should
express our profound gratitude to God. Naaman also teaches us how to show appreciation to
those who have been good to us. Also, we learn from this reading that God does not come to
our help because of what he will receive from us. He says: “All the silver and gold in the whole
world are mine” (Haggai 2:8-9).
However, He does not condemn material offerings to the Church in appreciation of His
goodness to us. This is because “the Church is the visible sign of God on earth. So, our
offerings of thanksgiving to the Church are offered to God to build up his visible body – His
In today’s gospel, Jesus reminds us of the importance of gratitude to God for favors we have
received from Him. In this reading, what caught the admiration of Jesus about the Samaritan
was that he “Turned back, praising God at the top of his voice, and threw himself at the feet of
Jesus and thanked him.” When was the last time we expressed this kind of gratitude to God?
Gratitude to God is an expression of our faith in His saving power.
Many of us hardly have time to show gratitude to God for what he has done for us. Sometimes,
even using the gifts we have received freely to serve him is hard for us. This is because we
rationalize too much. Unfortunately, some of us offer to God as if we are investing in a lottery.
In order words, “God has to do something for me because I have given something to Him. Or,
“I give to God because He gives to me!”
Showing gratitude to God is very important in our Christian journey with him. However, we
should not see it as a burden. The truth is that there is no amount of money or material thing
that would be enough to pay God for his goodness to us. So, the decision to show gratitude to
God must flow from our hearts and a pure conscience.
In light of this, we must approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist every day. It is a
sacrament of gratitude or thanksgiving to God. It is one whole sacrifice through which we, the
Church, give thanks to God when we gather as one big and united family in his presence.
“Your faith has saved you” (Luke 17: 11- 19). Imagine how this Samaritan must have felt
when he heard Jesus say these words to him! As a foreigner, he was outside of God’s covenant
with Israel, and yet this Jewish miracle worker had just assured him of salvation all because of
his faith. His heart must have been bursting with gratitude!
But what about his nine friends, who did not return to Jesus? Surely they had faith as well.
What else would compel them to cry out to Jesus for healing or to call him “Master” (Luke
17:13)? Why would they go show themselves to the priests if they didn’t believe that Jesus
would heal them along the way? Of course they had faith!
But there was something different about this Samaritan. He had the kind of faith that opened
him up to worship and gratitude and praise to God. He saw Jesus in a different light than the
other nine. Jesus wasn’t just a “Master,” as in a teacher of spiritual truths. He was a vessel for
God’s grace. Realizing he was healed, this man knew that God was working through Jesus, and
that moved him to return and praise the God who had been so good to him. And that act of
worship opened him up to the greatest healing of all: Salvation.
The Word of God today, not only tells us to hold on to our Christian faith to get from God our
healing and other blessings but also, calls us through Jesus for a wholistic and complete faith
living. Namely, Jesus wants us not to use our religion just for material blessings. He expects
us to go beyond those blessings and seek for a persistent faith in staying with Him, thanking
Him, giving first priority to Him, and giving witness to His healing power. This type of healing
He calls Salvation. Naaman in old testament is a role model to us in this regard. After his cure,
he said to the prophet: “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel.” He
does not stop there. He promised saying: “I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any
other god except to the Lord.” We see the same behaviour of that one leper who returned to the
Lord and whom the Lord praised. Gospel says: “He threw himself on his face, at the feet of
Jesus and spoke his praises.” The Lord took the occasion to say: “Were not all ten made
whole? Where are the other nine? Was there no one to return and give thanks to God except
this foreigner?” He too said to the healed person: “Stand up and go your way; your faith has
been your salvation.”
Therefore, our whole purpose of praying to God for blessings should be, as Paul says, ‘so that
we may obtain the salvation to be found in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. Let us pray
for His blessings, for His healing. We need them. We too deserve them. But when we get
them-whether health, or wealth, power or talents let us ask from Him, “No more blessings
Lord, we want you yourself, not to accomplish things for you in this world but to be with you
Readings like today’s can prompt us to examine our faith. Does it include the grateful, joy-
filled worship of the Samaritan? Or like the nine, do we limit ourselves mostly to prayers of
petition and acts of obedience?
Don’t worry; everyone needs to deepen their faith. Just don’t think that you have to do it on
your own. Worship is a two-way street. Just as deeper faith can lead to more joyous worship,
so too can prayers of worship and praise deepen your faith. So lift your heart to Jesus.
Proclaim his greatness. Praise him for his love and mercy. Let your worship and your faith
help you experience his salvation more and more.
Finally, when we gather, we are there to say: “We give you thanks Almighty God, for these and
all your benefits to us, through Christ Our Lord.” It is not only about offering God material
things or gifts alone. Instead, it is more about lifting our entire being to God in appreciation and
gratitude for His love and goodness. It is more about offering ourselves totally and wholly
again and again to God. This is the gratitude that flows from a sincere heart.
God bless. Happy Thanksgiving to all.