Scripture: Lectionary 493. November 14th. Wisdom 6:2-11. Psalm 23:1-3.3-4.5.6. Titus 3:1-7. Luke 17:11-19:
What a wonderful Gospel reading this week before Thanksgiving Day. The ten lepers are cured by Jesus, but only one returns. Luke tells the story dramatically in saying, “This man was a Samaritan.” We know that during Luke’s writing there was a mission toward the Samaritans and some of them were becoming followers of Jesus. This event would mean much to them when they heard it preached. We know from the Gospel of John about the woman from Samaria who becomes an apostle to her own people after her encounter with Jesus. This, too, points to the mission to the Samaritans. Luke will carry this theme through the early chapter of Acts where he mentions the mission to the Samaritans.
The readings suggest certain virtues that should be practiced in a spirit of generosity and thanksgiving. The virtue of hospitality and thanksgiving come down to us through the examples of the holy men and women of the Old Testament. Luke was very familiar with these saints and remembered them in his writings. Paul, too, being totally zealous as a Jew, continues to remind the new believers in Jesus of the importance of the virtues he lived out. The virtues are not presented as a system of spirituality that is neatly described, but are more the pervading spirit and leading motivational habits that are to be put into practice.
All of us have a lot to be thankful for: our life, our family and community, our Church, and our country. We do well to imitate the dispositions that we find in our ancestors described in the Gospels and the Old Testament. Above all, hospitality, generosity, and
thankfulness are linked to a celebration of Thanksgiving Day for all who believe in the greatness of God who bestows all good gifts upon us.
Paul’s letter to Titus adds other virtues befitting those who are of the household of faith. Courtesy, respect for lawful authority, and patience are among the ones we can develop. Another important verse in Paul’s writing to Titus is the emphasis on Christ: “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any righteous deeds we had done, but because of his mercy.” Our prayer can be strengthened by our thankfulness and our greatness of soul (magnanimity) which are foundational for prayer and for leading us to Jesus who is all love and mercy. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.