Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Petition and Thanksgiving. Such are the two stages of prayer and the Gospel today exemplifies this lesson in a memorable way. Hope for healing brought the ten lepers to Jesus. Their request was simple. All they had to do was show themselves to Jesus. Such is the posture of genuine prayer of petition. Their faith was strong but the healing did not take place immediately. Only one returned to thank Jesus, a Samaritan – not one of the flock. The true disciple is the one whose hopes and faith are perfected in charity, just as the true believer goes from the prayer of petition to the prayer of thanksgiving. Love shows itself in thanksgiving.
The second reading ends with a beautiful hymn: “If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” Yes, but this can also be a dodge for laziness, an excuse for our Catholicism-light. It can sum up the attitude of the nine lepers in the Gospel. If we treat God as an automatic vending machine, he will soon show us that he is not that at all. “But if we deny him he will deny us,” Paul warns, after stating: “If we have died with him we shall also live with him.” How often each day do I die with him so that my love for him makes my life a lived thanksgiving?