Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ordinary 32 Wednesday

A friend of mine recently experienced some real tragedy. First, his brother died from cancer. Then, six weeks after that, both of his parents died in a terrible car accident as they were on their way to visit their son’s new grave. When my friend arrived in Buffalo before the funeral, a freak snowstorm paralyzed the city. His car broke down while there, and he contracted a bad case of poison ivy to boot. In an attempt at humor, he said, "Job has nothing on me!"

Nevertheless, my friend said that the overwhelming feeling amongst his family was one of gratitude. They were grateful for the wonderful rich life their parents had enjoyed; for the outpouring of concern and sympathy they received; for the good professional assistance of police officers, attorneys, and insurance agents; and for the love they share as family. This isn’t to say that they aren’t sad, because they are. But they’re grateful at the same time.

Not everyone, however, would have found gratitude in these circumstances. Consider today’s gospel. Ten lepers were healed by Jesus, but only one returned to give thanks; only one was grateful. Why was this person different? He viewed life’s events through the lens of faith. "Stand up and go," said Jesus; "your faith has saved you."

Today’s gospel challenges us to be grateful people- regardless of what life may throw at us. Because we’re people of faith, we can find good where others find only evil; we can see the hand of God’s providence where others see only cruel fate; we can discover a silver lining while others can’t see beyond the clouds; we can hope while others despair; we can be grateful when others are simply bitter. All because we have faith that nothing can ever separate us from the goodness and love of God. And we can always be grateful for that.

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