As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, 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.”
Let me ask you a question: “What do you have that you have not received?” What do you have that you have not received? That’s actually a question St. Paul asks in 1 Cor. 4:7. You see, ten years ago, you didn’t know you could do certain things, but now you’ve found a gift. Who gave that to you? Ultimately, it comes from God, who made you in his image and likeness, that is, he made you “God-like,” and entrusted you with special gifts and talents. And when someone gives you a gift, what do you say? Well, if you are a human being, and not a barbarian, we say, “Thank you.”
I would suggest to you that those two words – thank you – are among the most important words in the English language. Why? Well because they show that we recognize that what we have comes from someone else (namely, God), and that we are grateful. “Thank you” are two very human words.”
In the gospel today we see someone who knows how to use those special words, “thank you.” Jesus heals ten men suffering from leprosy, but only one returns to say “thank you.” He came back to Jesus and said “thanks” because he knew that he had received something very special from someone else. The other nine were “barbarians” who do not know their gifts come from God, so that they can be “God-like.” In other words, there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who know their gifts come from God, and those who don’t; the first are human beings, and the second are barbarians. And you can tell the difference between the two by who says, “thank you.”
I spend a lot of time writing “thank you notes.” Do you know why I write so many thank you notes? It’s because I am a big moocher. What is a moocher? A moocher is someone who depends on others to take care of him. For example, I go over to your house and I eat your food at supper. But I also realize that pretty much everything I have comes from someone else, and so I should say “thank you!” a lot!
The longer you live, the more you realize that every molecule in your body and every second in your life is a gift from God; everything you have you have received from Someone else, namely, God, and you should say “thank you.” You see, from God’s perspective we’re all a bunch of big moochers!
You know that another name for the Mass (our Sunday service) is the “Eucharist.” But does anyone know what “Eucharist” literally means? It comes from Greek and means “thanksgiving.” The reason we go to church every Sunday is to tell God “thanks” for everything we have and are. Do you know what percentage of people go to Mass every weekend? It’s about one out of ten.
Praised be Jesus Christ!