Every morning we wake up to another day filled with opportunities and choices, opportunities to honor God with our choices. In our morning prayers, we often ask God to bless our day and maybe even ask Him to intercede and help us with a particular struggle, or we may ask Him to help others in their struggles. Suffice it to say, our prayers are more often than not, filled with requests of God.
The Gospel story today (Luke 17.12-19) tells us of a similar situation. As Christ enters a village, He was met by ten men who begged Him, “Jesus, Master have mercy on us!” These ten men were sent by Christ to their priest to show their priests that God had indeed had mercy on them. All ten were obedient to God. “And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.” God had healed their disease, but the story doesn’t end there.
One of the ten men who wasn’t even a Jew, realized he had been healed by Christ, and immediately turned around to return to Christ to thank Him. The other nine went their way, we presume to show their priests they had been healed. The Gospel focuses on the one Samaritan, rather than the nine Jews, because he was the one who was openly grateful to God. He was the one who returned to God to give Him thanks and to worship Him. He was the one who was saved that day. “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” Admittedly, we don’t know what came of the other nine, but we do know the one who was grateful was made well by God.
We receive many blessings from God on a daily basis, even if not physical miracles as we so often hear in the Scriptures. After being blessed by God, do we go about our business, or do we come to where we encounter God, His Church, and give Him thanks and worship Him? The very service we offer God each Sunday, Holy Communion is called Divine Thanksgiving - Θεία Ευχαριστία, and is the ultimate giving of thanks to God. But the story doesn’t end there.
AFTER we receive Holy Communion, AFTER we have been blessed by God, the prayers of the Divine Liturgy offer God thanks for the blessings He has given to us. Unfortunately, many of us leave the Church after receiving Holy Communion, without returning to say thanks. When only one man returned to Christ to give Him thanks, Christ said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” Don’t be counted among “the others”. Be the one about whom Christ says, “Your faith has made you well.” Be grateful.