Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 493. Wisdom 6:2-11. Psalm 82:3.4.6-7. Luke 17:11-19.
Thankfulness to God on the part of a Samaritan leper who has been healed by Jesus is a great example for us as we approach Thanksgiving Day. Ten lepers had been healed but the nine who were Israelites did not return to give thanks to Jesus; only the Samaritan did. He was considered by the Israelites to be a foreigner and a heretic. Jesus is deeply appreciative of his return and tells his disciples that this person was cured because of his faith. His thankfulness merited this extra confirmation of Jesus that not only was he healed of bodily infliction but also his spirit was now graced with the gift of faith acknowledged by Jesus in whom he trusted and believed. Jesus tells him, “Stand up and go, your faith has saved you (healed you,too).” Scholars tell us that in the narratives of the Gospels we not only have some of the historical events of Christ’s life but also the situation in the communities of the time in which the Evangelists wrote–often a generation or two removed from the actual time of Jesus. Thus Luke may be narrating this event in order to support the first influx of Samaritans to the Christian faith. We see this in his second work where this is emphasized, that is, that Samaritans were converting to the message of Jesus. Luke seems to be aware of this and hands it on in both his Gospel and his Acts of the Apostles. There is also the third level of the Gospels, that of the Evangelist’s intention. For Luke we know that the themes of poverty, thankfulness, joy, and prayer are among the ones he hands on to the churches and to us. (This three stage development of the Gospels is clearly demonstrated in the Pontifical Biblical’s statement “Historical Truth of the Gospels”, 1964, and official document of Roman Catholicism). We can start our day with a prayer of thanksgiving for being alive to serve the Lord for another day. Placing ourselves in the presence of God at the start of a day offers us this great opportunity of thanking God for life and for our faith. This will help us appreciate not only Thanksgiving Day that is approaching us as a holiday but also as a day that is wholesomely and holy dedicated to God the giver of all good gifts. Amen.