On this day after Thanksgiving -- which I hope is shining bright for you, not "black" -- in lieu of my usual self-examination questions I want to reprint Father Patrick Henry Reardon's commentary on yesterday's reading about Jesus and the ten lepers. It correlates to the St. James Daily Devotional that Donna and I study from. Available free here. Best wishes for a truly holy holiday season over these next few weeks.
Luke 17:11-19: The moral lesson of today’s Gospel has to do with thanksgiving. This point is made in Jesus’ question, with which the story ends: “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”
We doubt that this was the first time our Samaritan had given thanks. In truth, we suspect that he remembered to give thanks on this occasion because he had already formed the habit of giving thanks, even during those years when his leprosy made him an outcast. The cultivated and sustained habit of thanksgiving is the secret of a happy life. This is the reason Holy Scripture instructs us in all things to give thanks. Thanksgiving is to become the settled and normal habit of our souls.
It is ultimately thanksgiving that brings true healing to our lives. It is thanksgiving that separates us from those whose lives are spent in complaining and murmuring. The habit of complaining, after all, is profoundly unhealthy. Murmuring eats away the soul. Few things are more destructive of health than routine recourse to murmuring. It is no wonder that murmuring is the sin most condemned in Holy Scripture. Murmuring is never an expression of faith. Thanksgiving is.
This thanksgiving is an act of worship completely centered on the person of Jesus Christ. What, concretely, does our Samaritan do today? Let us read: “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks.”
Observe these particular features of this proper thanksgiving. We fall on our faces at the feet of Christ, and we shout with a loud voice. Thanksgiving is Christ-centered worship. It assumes the posture of humility and adoration.
The grateful Samaritan, we read, fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Observe the correct posture of thanksgiving—our faces at His feet. This is the correct posture of God’s servant before his Lord. This is the correct deportment of a healthy human being.
The goal of evangelism is to bring every soul to this position, to bow every head—every mind—before the Lordship of Christ, to cause to rise from every throat the loud voice of grateful praise, to remove from every heart the last trace of that deep sickness called murmuring, and to replace it with it with saving faith in that only name under heaven by which we are to be saved.