Yesterday , I went into Starbucks for the first time in over a month. They were getting the store dressed up for Christmas by pushing their famous and best blend , Thanksgiving, off to the side to make way for their ever popular christmas blend. Thanksgiving , the most beautiful and least commercial of holidays , is now lost in the Christmas shuffle and Black Friday frenzy. How ironic that the feast dedicated to giving thanks is overshadowed, and even forgotten, by a holiday that has its roots in Christ who teaches that GRATITUDE is at the heart of life. The word “Eucharist ” means just that : thanksgiving and gratitude.
At the heart of the life of the Church is thanking God for all that has been given to us. Ten lepers are healed, made WHOLE , by the healing of Jesus. They all run away, presumably in joy, with only ONE of the ten returning to thank Jesus. Irony strikes again: this person who said, “Thank you,” was a Samaritan!!!!! A “foreigner” …, an outsider, was the only one to remember where the healing came from, or rather, WHO did the healing. The God of surprises strikes again. Or maybe I should say that one human being surprised God!!!!!!
The very source of the healing, God, seems to get lost in the shuffle, like Thanksgiving, and even the celebration of God becoming flesh and blood: the Incarnation.
A life of Gratitude is a life that never puts God on the back burner nor forgets Who made all of this possible. The nine other healed lepers were probably very good people but they were disconnected with the Source of of not only the healing but their very lives. We are fast becoming a culture of disconnected individuals who have lost a sense of a personal God calling us together in a community of “connected” individuals who radiate the very presence and love of this God.
We Christians are called to be living examples of gratitude, drawing others in by our joy in the God who wants us to do our part in the transformation of the world.
This “transformation” or re-creation begins in gratitude. How can YOU surprise God?
Buen camino. Padre
(I’m brewing my own Thanksgiving coffee)