Faith and Jesus Go Together
Jesus says something amazing at the end of our gospel reading, he says to the Samaritan, “Your faith has made you well (or better translated – saved you).” The observant one will realize that it was Jesus who made him well. But here Jesus wants to make a distinction between the cleansing from leprosy that he did to all 10 and the man who returns to get even more from Jesus. Jesus cleansed all 10 and healed them in their body but it was only 1 who return for a full healing of the soul as well. The other 9 expected a lot from Jesus but they didn’t expect everything. This man expected healing and then also forgiveness and eternal life. He expected Jesus to be God and a God who wants to be gracious and merciful.
Who Returns to a Fuller Life?
The other 9 took bodily healing from Jesus like teenager taking the keys to the family car. “Thanks mom, thanks dad,” as you hear their voice growing fainter as they run out the door, not looking back. The 9 were healed and eager to get back to life, or at least what they thought life was about; to get back to their family and friends and work. And they did this by leaving Jesus.
The Samaritan, the one who returned, knew better. He knew that in Jesus, he found his life. That in Jesus, He found the most important family in this world and the next.
This story answers the question, “Who’s fault is it that the other nine only received healing of body but did not receive the peace that passes all understanding, a conscience that is cleansed from sin, a hope that God will never fail them or leave them or forsake them?” The answer is of course, it is their fault. Jesus offers. Jesus dies for all and is present after his resurrection and ascension in his Church for all – offering freely and fully divine peace.
Faith Always Returns and Is Never Disappointed
Faith always goes back for more and is never ever disappointed. Unbelief receives something good from God and then thinks that it has mined the depth of his goodness and mercy and doesn’t think to go back or doesn’t want to go back. The lesson is clear, the one who doesn’t trust God will not receive the best things from God. Jesus will never ask how often you had come to Him in the past. He’s always willing to give His gifts because you came to Him in the present.
What Jesus wants to do is take a wavering heart that too often doesn’t believe him and hold it still so that he can pour in his goodness. A heart that doesn’t fully trust or believe that God is good and will answer prayer is like having a basket in your hands and asking someone to pour in candy but then moving it left and right so they have a difficult time getting a single piece in. Faith on the other hand asks for the basket to be filled and then waits for it to be filled, expecting that it will be filled with good things, even if it is not right away and even if it is not sure what those good things will be that will fill the basket.
Our Thankfulness is Too Often Shallow
Our second point is to help us to repent of our shallow thanklessness. We are called to be thankful for two things, 1.) The things that we have been given from God and from others and 2.) The things that we have not been given that are evil. If you can walk, then you not only have been given the good gift of legs but you have also been protected from being paralyzed.
Benefits of Thanksgiving
Being thankful is a pleasing thing to God. It is also a pleasing thing to you – when you recognize that you are surrounded by people and things that you have been given, it also tends to put you in awe. It also often pleases people have given you a gift, softens their heart and encourages a good desire to continue to show kindness and mercy to you. Too often, the closer they are to your home, the less grateful you are for what they have done and yet, the closer they are to you, the more that they do for you consistently.
Bearing with Ingratitude
We have a very difficult time bearing with ingratitude because we are weak. An ungrateful heart too often destroys the joy and love of serving others and it kills any desire to be assistance to same people in the future.
But the final point is that if we want to be Christians, we must also learn to be merciful to not only those who are grateful but also to those who are ungrateful. We should develop the good virtue of continuing to do good to those who do not appreciate the good. Jesus is your joy, not simply doing good. We do good because our God is good and continues to do good things for us – least of all forgive us and give us himself and let us know that He is God and has everything good in store for us. You have someone who will thank you. Someone better. You can say to those ungrateful, “His thanks is and will be more gratifying than your thanks would be anyway.”