On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers 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’ 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.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Brené Brown suggests: It’s not joy that makes us grateful, it’s gratitude that makes us joyful. We are not just to cultivate an “attitude-of-gratitude” or simply feel grateful, Brown says, but rather it is about inviting joy into our lives through creative, intentional, tangible practices of gratitude.
In the first reading (2 Kgs 5: 14-17), Naaman, a foreigner, insists on taking two mule-loads of Israelite dirt back to his homeland so he can continue praising the Lord. The psalmist sings new songs (Ps 98). And in the Gospel, only one of the ten lepers return to give Jesus glory and honor. Each of these figures finds intentional, tangible ways of practicing gratitude: concrete acts of praise, singing, and deliberate expressions of thanks. Their joy is palpable and leaps off the page. Their witness inspires us to consider how we might more creatively, intentionally, and tangibly practice gratitude, that our joy may be more complete.
Loving and compassionate God, move us to courageously and intentionally empty ourselves out in thanksgiving, that in so doing we may be filled with the joy only you can give. Amen.
—Christopher Alt, SJ