Sunday, October 13, 2013

Where are the Other Nine?

The story of the Ten Lepers is a familiar one which we hear on a regular basis.  Lepers at the time of Jesus are considered unclean, and thus outsiders.  They cannot communicate with family or friends and have no recourse to the 'ordinary' activities of daily life.  of course the Samaritan all the more so would be excluded from Hebrew culture.  So the fact that a sick man, and Samaritan at that, would be healed and return to give thanks, is outstanding. 

To be sure the folks in the Gospel who are healed or forgiven, who have an experience of Jesus, not only are full of thanks and praise of God's love and mercy, but their own lives become transformed.  The stories of Abram, Saul, and Simon Peter, indicate that this change is so powerful that even their names change.  The Scriptures are replete with this theme of men and women who touch the love of God and experience a remarkable change, healing and peace within their lives. 

With thanksgiving, we ask with the psalmist, what return do we make to the Lord, for all that the Lord has done for us.  Our response should be one of graciousness and faithfulness.  We receive God's gifts gratefully, nurturing those gifts,  we share them in charity and justice, so as to return them with increase to the Lord.  Gratefulness allows us to make a connection to the one who gives gifts.  When we offer thanks and praise to God we necessarily reflect on our relationship with God, and grow more intimately into that communion.

This is not unlike those familial relationships we have.  In offering thanks, by sharing in family dinners, we can come to recognize our identity as well as our status within the family.  At the Eucharist (which means thanksgiving) We can become aware of our communal history and our connection to God and one another.  We become re-centered on the understanding that We are Children of God and are called to act in accord with that call.

We are called to share with others all that we have seen and heard.  In a very real way we need to be thankful people to our God and one another.  As Jesus sees the needy human heart in the Lepers, our ability to offer thanksgiving allows us to examine our relationships with God and others.  This is why we regularly give thanks to God for the many blessings received.

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