Thursday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26th Lk. 21: 20-28 “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”
Gratitude and Thanksgiving… by Pope Francis
(Editor’s Note: Pope Francis could have written this to each one of us personally.)
I accompany you at this moment of pain and difficulty, and I thank God for your faithful service to His people. In the hope of helping you to persevere on the path of fidelity to Jesus Christ, I would like to offer two brief reflections.
The first concerns the spirit of gratitude. The joy of men and women who love God attracts others to Him. Joy springs from a grateful heart. Truly we have received so much, so many graces, so many blessings, and we rejoice in this. It will do us good to think back on our lives with the grace of remembrance. Remembrance of when we were first called, remembrance of the road travelled, remembrance of graces received… and, above all, remembrance of our encounter with Jesus Christ so often along the way. Remembrance of the amazement which our encounter with Jesus Christ awakens in our hearts!
Let us seek the grace of remembrance so as to grow in the spirit of gratitude. Let us ask ourselves: Are we good at counting our blessings, or have we forgotten them?
A second area is the spirit of hard work. A grateful heart is spontaneously impelled to serve the Lord and to find expression in a life of commitment to our work. Once we come to realize how much God has given us, a life of self-sacrifice, of working for Him and for others, becomes a privileged way of responding to His great love. End.
Today we will do an Ignatian repetition of the following contemplative meditation to draw more fruit – more insights to apply to ourselves and our lives, thereby gaining greater merit and graces in our journey towards our heavenly home, Heaven!
THE UNGRATEFUL NINE OF THE GROUP OF TEN (Lk 17:11-19) by Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
What a horrible physical condition, that of being afflicted with leprosy! Eyebrows disappearing, on one hand three fingers, a swollen eye with the vision totally lost, dark spots up and down the spine, and the coarse, the shrill sound of a voice impaired through eroded vocal cords. All of these could be possible symptoms of the disease of leprosy.
Not only was this disease contagious, like the Coronavirus Pandemic, but it basically had no vaccine, no possible way that Doctors or medicine could provide any sure remedy.
Adding to the gravity of the plight of the leper was the social stigma that magnified the problem. According to the Levitical Law, the lepers were forced to live isolated in what might be called Leper Colonies. Indeed they were social outcasts.
Perhaps the worst of all the sufferings of the person of the leper was a prevalent theological belief that the leper suffered this incurable disease because God was angry at him for something that he did or possibly something that a relative or ancestor did, and he was paying the consequences of this with the disease of leprosy.
Therefore, to contract the disease of leprosy at the time of Jesus was considered to be one of the worst sufferings that any individual could undergo. As mentioned, the suffering was experienced at various levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, theologically, spiritually and morally. The last person that anybody wanted to see was a leper; worse yet, the last suffering anybody wanted to have to endure was the sickness, disease, and suffering of the plight of the leper. Indeed, it truly could be said, the leper was among the class of the living dead.
With this in mind, picture the scene of ten lepers in view of Jesus crying out with all of their strength: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us!” (Read and meditate on Luke 17:11-19) Moved to the very depths of his tender Heart, Jesus desires earnestly to heal their plight. He tells them to go to the priest and on the way they are healed, all ten lepers are healed! This manifests with utmost clarity the infinite compassion, mercy, tenderness and kindness of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
In this group of ten lepers only one returns, and with a most noble heart he expresses overflowing gratitude for the loving concern and miraculous cure of Jesus the Divine Physician. Jesus willingly accepts this gratitude, but remarks: “Were there not ten that were healed, where are the other nine?” This one who was healed and profusely thanked Jesus was a foreigner, a Samaritan.
The ungrateful nine who never returned to render thanks to Jesus could easily be us, this could be our situation. How many times have we been recipients of His gifts, blessings, graces and failed to thank God, and even to thank others? How many times have we simply failed to say those two words: Thank you!
True, Thanksgiving Day comes and goes every year at the tail end of November. However, as followers of the Lord Jesus who so generously healed the ten lepers, and so often heals us, our thanksgiving should extend all the days of our lives. Let us get into the habit of cultivating an attitude of gratitude. Let us form the habit of saying thanks for these gifts bestowed upon us. The following are ten concrete ways that we can cultivate an attitude of gratitude and live constantly thanking God. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever.” (107:1)
TEN WAYS THAT WE CAN RENDER THANKS TO OUR LOVING SAVIOR…
1. A NEW DAY: A NEW SUNRISE. Every day that we rise from sleep after a good night’s rest, we should thank God for His protection during the night and the gift of another day.
2. A NOURISHING MEAL. Many will go to bed hungry this night; some will even die from malnutrition and starvation. We should always bless the meal that God provides for us through the hands and hard work of others. A child said this prayer during the Thanksgiving holiday: “God, I thank you that I can choose the food I eat!” How many people throughout the world have never seen a Refrigerator? Or a sumptuous meal with multiple, delicious foods to choose from?
3. FRIENDLY AND SMALL WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT. Desolation is part and parcel of human existence and we all know of it from personal experience. How often has it happened that the Good Lord has rescued us from a state of desolation by sending some Good Samaritan along our path to give us a shining smile of friendship and encourage us with kind words? For these uplifting experiences we should express our gratitude to God, but also show our gratitude by becoming that Good Samaritan for others!
4. SUFFICIENT HEALTH TO MOVE ON. As the years transpire, so health declines, but God intervenes with His powerful Presence to lift us up and help us move on despite our weakening frame and creaking structure. Never forget the words of the poet: “I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet!” We will always bump into people who are worse off than us. Count your blessings!
5. TIME, TALENT, AND TREASURE. Render a heartfelt Thank You to God for the time, talent, and treasure that God has given to you right now. Show your gratitude in a concrete way by imitating the two servants in the Parable of the Talents who doubled their talents and returned them with interest to the Master. (Mt. 25: 14-28) May we never show ingratitude to God by laziness; rather, let us show our gratitude by hard work and diligent effort!
6. JOY! We must be constantly grateful for the many times that God has filled our hearts and minds with joy! This is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that becomes manifest when we correspond to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Remember the acronym J.O.Y. = Jesus, Others, You!
7. HEAVEN. The thought of HEAVEN that awaits God’s faithful followers should fill us with both joy and gratitude. Jesus expressed these most consoling words: “I am going to prepare a place for you now, so that where I am, you also might be. In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” (Jn. 14: 1-3) Constantly we should thank Jesus that He has gone to Heaven to prepare a place for us. Let us live in such a way that when we die, we are prepared to go to Heaven to be with Jesus!
8. ANGELS AND SAINTS. Today in many parts of the world, many people suffer a constant, crushing loneliness. They have an overriding feeling that nobody cares for them, nobody loves them. For followers of Jesus, this is never the case because we belong to a warm and loving family—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Other important members of our family are the angels and the saints. They are the best of friends to us. We should form a constant habit of talking to them and thanking them for their friendship and assistance, for they are eager to help us whenever we ask them!
9. GOD’S MERCY AND PROVIDENCE. How can we ever go through a day without thanking God for His Divine Providence and His Infinite Mercy? By Providence we mean the simple fact that God provides for us, defends us, protects us, nourishes us, and simply cares for us as a loving Father—let us render thanks for His Divine Providence! Even though we are weak, fragile, and prone to fall many times a day, God is a loving and merciful Father who, when we ask for mercy, forgives us in a heartbeat. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever.” (Ps. 107:1)
10. MARY MOST HOLY: OUR LIFE, OUR SWEETNESS, AND OUR HOPE. Finally, let us never let a day go by in which we fail to talk to Mary as our loving Mother, as “our life, our sweetness, and our hope.” (Hail Holy Queen) How grateful we really should be that Mary is our Mother—she loves us, she prays for us, she cares for us, she protects us, and she will help us to pass from this life to the next in the state of grace. Then with our Mother Mary, we will love God, thank God and praise God for all eternity!
Copyright 2020 Oblates of the Virgin Mary
St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA