Welcome !

Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


(a reflection on Luke 17:11-19)
by: Deacon Paul Rooney

There is a well-known yarn, one which may or may not be true, that you can find in the writings of a nephew of Mark Twain, writings about the famous author and Nobel Prize winner, Rudyard Kipling.  You remember the things Kipling wrote like "Gunga Din" and "The Jungle Book," both of which were made into movies.  Kipling sold one of his books for a price that netted him one shilling for every word, which might be about 40¢ a word today.  So sure enough, one wise guy mailed him a shilling, asking him for "one word."  Rudyard Kipling responded with one word: "Thanks."(1)  Well, in today's gospel (Luke 17:11-19) Jesus gave ten lepers something far more significant than a shilling: he restored them to physical wholeness.  Yet only one man responded with that precious word, "Thanks."

Two things make this episode unusual.  First, only one of the ten men returned to give thanks to Jesus for the healing.  Since Jesus made a pointed comment
about this, it highlights the direct connection between gratitude and faith.  One precious gift, faith, should lead everyone to the proper response, gratitude.  An obvious message is that every Christian should be so grateful for the gift of faith-that-leads-to-salvation that they will praise God daily for so wondrous a gift.  We believe in God's promise of salvation, and we recognize that he died to save us.  When we stumble and fall through personal sin, the Sacrament of Reconciliation once again restores us to spiritual wholeness.  Grace upon grace, gift upon gift!  Praise and thanksgiving for God's tender mercies should well up in us throughout the day, every day!

The second unusual detail in this gospel segment is that it was not the nine Jewish men, but only the Samaritan who demonstrated his gratefulness for being made whole.  He returned, throwing himself at the feet of Jesus in thankfulness.  Jesus had every right to be sad, seeing that only one person saw fit to return and thank him for the healing, especially since the other nine men were fellow Judeans.  Jesus did not "need" their thanks; he had experienced rejection before.  But he knew that the insensitivity of the nine men gave a glimpse into the condition of their heart and mind.  They may have been cured of leprosy of the body, but they now had spiritual leprosy of the mind, a condition of ingratitude and ungratefulness.

One can discern lessons for us today in this scripture passage.  For one thing,
the Christian should not expect to be rewarded with praise and thanks for doing what he or she is sent to do.  After all, the Master was rejected and forgotten; so that will be His disciples' destiny as well.  But just as importantly, we need to do a self-examination of our own attitude of gratitude towards God.  Hopefully we all pray in gratitude at mealtime.  But what about the rest of the day?  Are we aware of the priceless gifts that have been showered upon us?  Faith, Hope, Love, the awesome Incarnation, the sacrificial death of Jesus for my salvation, my very life and breath, my family, and many, many more...am I taking these for granted?  If not, what is my proof?

There is a reason that our Daily Examen begins with a prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving!  It is to help us avoid contracting spiritual leprosy of the mind, an insidious disease for the lax Christian.  We need to be reminded of Who the Giver of all gifts is; that all is grace; and that a response is demanded from us.  The bible mentions the word thanksgiving (in it's many variations) about 140 times, which helps us to remember our obligation.  I pray that thanksgiving already is, or will soon become, a habit on your daily journey with God.

Deacon Paul Rooney

(1)"A Ken of Kipling" by William Clemens; http://archive.org/stream/kenofkiplingbein00clemuoft#page/104/mode/2up/search/shilling
Photo Credits:
Kipling: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling
Nativity: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nativity_of_Jesus
Praying Hands: http://www.watton.org/clipart/prayer/prayer.shtml

1 comment:

  1. Once again Deacon Paul, you have written a reflection that challenges and encourages.
    A while ago I realized that when I went out to eat I was neglecting to say the blessing before my meal, I was not even really aware that I was doing it! And even now occasionally I forget. But what a grace to be made aware that you have forgotten to thank God, it means you are orienting yourself more toward Him! And, God is good! When I realize I have forgotten I can ask His pardon and give Him thanksgiving for His mercy!!


(Comments from Anonymous sources will be reviewed before posting. - The Moderator.)