On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers[b] approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’[c] feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
Words of Hope
Thanksgiving is a holiday that many of us dread. It means spending time with family members who may or may not be civil and for those of us who are LGBTQ that lack of civility can lead to some angry and hurtful dinner conversations. I was very lucky. My family embraced me and my sexuality with little drama, but Thanksgiving meals still ended up being dramatic for other reasons.
Most often the problem was my late cousin who argued incessantly with his father. A thanksgiving meal wasn’t complete until neither was speaking to each other.
One of the good traditions at our house for thanksgiving was inviting people outside our family to visit. Most often friends or acquaintances who were living far from their families and had no place to go for the holiday. Their presence usually tamped down the drama a bit and their gratitude and good will always made the meal more enjoyable.
My father was a research scientist and he often had colleagues from other countries visiting him in his work. Sometimes one of them would be in town for Thanksgiving or another celebratory meal. Having them join us at the table often out a good perspective on what we really had to be thankful for. I remember in the mid 1960’s, a doctor from India sitting at our table and during the conversation she recounted how in her culture there were similar celebrations. Vaisakhi was the harvest festival and new years holiday celebrated in the Punjabi region where she came from. Part of her story was how thankful she was to have been able to go to university and become a scientist, something that would have been unthinkable only a few years before.
It was a moving and wonderful story told by a foreigner of her gratitude and we all listened in rapt attention. It gave us a good chance to reflect on how much we had to be grateful for as well.
Much like the Samaritan in the Scripture reading it was a foreigner who understood the miracle.
At this time of Thanksgiving, may we all remember the multitude of blessings we should be expressing gratitude for everyday and not just today. May we learn to see the miracles around us and never cease to give thanks.