Being Thankful At All Times
18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Readings: Ruth 1:8-19a
2 Timothy 2:8-15
Luke 17: 11-19
Each Sunday, Jesus shows us the life and the purpose of this life. However, we usually just think only of our lives. We think that in order to survive in the world, we have to build ourselves. If we go back to check history, the people were focused on God. They were required to pray at 6 am, 9 am, 12 noon, 3 pm, 6 pm. Their whole lives were centered on God or their relationship with God.
But as time progressed, we digressed and spent less time with God. The Epistle talks about how Paul suffered for God. He put God first in his life. Do we today, as the church put Christ first? Jesus taught us to take care of the poor, the widows, to meet the needs of the less priveleged. But today, it is the governments who are doing this. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we see Jesus in the outskirts. As He was approaching the village, 10 lepers came to Him. These were outsiders, castaways. They cried out to Jesus, “have mercy upon us.” They had no one to help them. Christ was forbidden to go near but He said to them, “go show yourselves to the priest and report to him.” On their way to the priest, they were cleansed. All 10 were overjoyed, but one of the 10 went back to Christ to thank Him. Jesus asked, “weren’t there 10? Where are the other 9?” The one leper who returned to Christ fell on his feet and worshipped Christ. He put God first before even going to the priest. Jesus blessed the man because he was thankful. Today, we have gone so far from humanity. We don’t even give thanks to people who have helped us. One of the greatest things God has shown us is thanksgiving and praise. One of the most evidential examples in the past was God delivering the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, from 400 years of slavery. And yet the people were not grateful. They were murmuring and complaining. As a people we have been given so much. The Eucharist was given for us to thank Him for the new life He’s given. 1 Chronicles 16: 8-12 “Give thanks to the LORD, proclaim His greatness; tell the nations what He has done. Sing praise to the LORD; tell the wonderful things He has done. Be glad that we belong to Him; let all who worship Him rejoice! Go to the LORD for help, and worship Him continually.” In most churches today, do we give Him all the praise and thanksgiving? God is looking for a people of thanksgiving. 2 Chronicles 7:3 “And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshiped and praised the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 118:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” Psalm 100:4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and bless His name.” Even when we have a need, we should approach Him with an attitude of thanksgiving. 2 Corinthians 9:10 “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” Why are we missing on God’s provisions? Because we are not thankful. We are just in it for the profit. For what we can gain or benefit from, when we are suppose to be a people of thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” When the one leper returned to Jesus, He said to him, “your faith has made thee whole.” If faith is already with us, what a strong foundation this is in our lives.
The 9 lepers were not thankful. They may have been healed from leprosy, but the distortion that the disease caused were still with them. The one leper who returned to Jesus was made whole and fully restored. Even the distortions were gone. God told us to be fruitful and to multiply. He wants us to subdue the earth, cultivate and keep it. In Jesus’ ministry, He just spoke the Word for people to get healed. The “secret” to receiving God’s blessings and answers to our prayers is thanksgiving. Forgiveness opens the door to healing and unity. We are commissioned to be God’s instruments. He flows through us. 1 John 3:8 “He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
When we murmur and complain we are literally giving strength to the enemy. The one leper who came back to Jesus was thankful and he was fully healed. We need to see the total victory in this. We are His instruments of love and compassion.