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Please and Thank You
Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going, they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I look forward to this time in prayer with you. I need you. I desire to walk my pilgrimage on this earth always close to you. May this meditation strengthen in me the resolve to always seek you above all things.
- Leprosy: A person with leprosy would often be disfigured. There could be a terrible stench due to rotting flesh. Parts of a person’s body would fall off. It could be a very gradual and painful death. However, perhaps the greatest agony suffered by those with leprosy in the time of Christ was the isolation. Fear of contagion led family and friends to ostracize them from their communities. They had to live either with other lepers or alone. Those with leprosy had to face their dreadful fate daily. They knew they needed a miracle. For most of them, however, miracles were in short supply. The temptation to despair was probably never far from them.
- Faith: “As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, ‘Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!’” Undoubtedly, these lepers had heard of Jesus’ miraculous cures—among them cures for others suffering from leprosy (Matthew 8:3, 11:5). With determination and excitement, they presented the Lord with their need. They wanted to be made clean, and they had the faith to make their request. Our Lord responded simply and generously, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” In our own spiritual life, it often takes the catalyst of an urgent need for our prayer to move from routine or mere platitudes to a heartfelt plea. Our petition becomes emotional and urgent: “Lord, help me!” And Our Lord always hears us.
- Gratitude: One of the cured lepers returned to Jesus to give thanks. “Jesus said in reply, ‘Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?’” Perhaps the others became so excited by being cured that they immediately went to reintegrate with their family and friends to share their joy. While it may be somewhat understandable, the disappointment in Our Lord’s questions was evident. Jesus commanded that we come to him with our petitions, “Ask, and it will be given you” (Luke 11:9). However, when our needs are met, do we forget to thank him? Gratitude is a sign of humility. The attitude of gratitude draws us closer to God and can bring us great joy. A wonderful example of such gratitude is the Blessed Mother’s Magnificat (CCC 2097), “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” (Luke 2:46-48). May we imitate her in good times and in times of suffering or uncertainty. There’s always something for which we can be grateful.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, I have received countless gifts from your hands, some for which I have asked, and countless more for which I did not ask. Please forgive me for the times I have taken your generosity for granted. Help me to grow in my gratitude toward you, especially for the Eucharistic, which literally means “thanksgiving.” May my gratitude toward you also move me to generosity towards others, and in so doing help me to reflect you more perfectly.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will take time to enumerate several things for which I am grateful to you and to others. In addition to thanking you, I will also thank one other person in my life for what they have done for me.
For Further Reflection: Read Thanksgiving in Difficult Times.