"In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thesselonians 5:18
Perhaps Daniel Defoe gave us some good advice through his fictitious character Robinson Crusoe. The first thing that Crusoe did when he found himself on a deserted island was to make out a list. On one side of the list he wrote down all his problems. On the other side of the list he wrote down all of his blessings. On one side he wrote: I do not have any clothes. On the other side he wrote: But it is warm and I don’t really need any. On one side he wrote: All of the provisions were lost. On the other side he wrote: But there is plenty of fresh fruit and water on the island. And on down the list he went. In this fashion he discovered that for every negative aspect about his situation, there was a positive aspect, something to be thankful for. It is easy to find ourselves on an island of despair. Perhaps it is time that we sit down and take an inventory of our blessings.
"Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" - Luke 17:17-18
Thanksgiving is the dominant theme of the readings today. We are taught from an early age to say “thank you” whenever we are given something, but as we go through life, sometimes we forget to say it or even to feel grateful. Today,however, we hear of two people who are truly thankful and take the time and effort to express their gratitude.When Naaman is healed of leprosy, he immediately returns to Elisha with a gift and a sincere desire to worship the God of Israel.
In the Gospel, the unnamed Samaritan immediately returned to thank Jesus and glorify God. He and Naaman are models for us today as we gather for the Eucharist, since the word eucharistia means “thanksgiving.”As we listen to these accounts of two foreigners who return to give thanks and then together we celebrate the Eucharist, let us resolve to live with thankful hearts, finding joy in all the good things that have been done for us, and taking the time to thank God and each other for these blessings.
A grateful heart is all God wishes for continuing to heal us from whatever isolates us from God or others. Have you given thanks for all the Lord has done? To whom do you need to give thanks today? How can you live with a more thankful heart?