The simple lesson in today’s Gospel is to give thanks for our many blessings. This message is certainly appropriate as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving next week. The Gospel story begins with ten lepers imploring Jesus for mercy and healing: “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” While he does heal the ten lepers nothing spectacular happens. Jesus simply gives the command to follow what the Law requires: “Go show yourselves to the priests.” It is the priests alone who can certify that a healing of leprosy has taken place. On the way to the priest all were cleansed. Only one, however, a Samaritan, returns to give glory and praise to God and to give thanks to Jesus.
This Samaritan was truly an outsider not only as s leper but also as a Samaritan or foreigner. Yet this Samaritan becomes an example to follow as Jesus remarks, “Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Jesus used this outsider or foreigner as an example earlier in the Gospel in the story of the Good Samaritan: “But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight…treated him with mercy…. Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:33-37). A (Good) Samaritan shows mercy and compassion while a Samaritan leper asks Jesus for mercy and compassion and gives praise to God and thanks to Jesus for this experience of healing.
You and I are invited to follow the example of these Samaritans. We are called upon to be people of compassion by feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, as we do as a parish not only at Thanksgiving but throughout the year. A great example of this compassion is when children bring up food for the needing during our offertory at mass. They teach us by their example. As we prepare to give thanks to God next week let us remember not only the extraordinary but also the ordinary ways, we have experienced God’s love and compassion in our daily life. We pray…Jesus heal us! Lord, have mercy!
Image: “St. Francis of Assisi and the Leper” by jimcintosh is licensed under CC BY 2.0.