The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What can adversity teach us about the blessing of thanksgiving and the healing power of love and mercy? The Book of Proverbs states: A friend loves at all times; and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17). When adversity strikes you find out who truly is your brother, sister, and friend. The Gospel records an unusual encounter between two peoples who had been divided for centuries. The Jews and Samaritans had no dealings with one another even though Samaria was located in the central part of Judaea. Both peoples were openly hostile whenever their paths crossed. In this gospel narrative we see one rare exception – a Samaritan leper in company with nine Jewish lepers. Sometimes adversity forces people to drop their barriers or to forget their prejudices. When this band of Jewish and Samaritan lepers saw Jesus they made a bold request. They didn’t ask for healing, but instead asked for mercy.
Mercy is heartfelt sorrow at another’s misfortune The word mercy literally means “sorrowful at heart”. But mercy is something more than compassion, or heartfelt sorrow at another’s misfortune. Compassion empathizes with the sufferer. But mercy goes further – it removes suffering. A merciful person shares in another’s misfortune and suffering as if it were his or her own. And such a person will do everything in his or her power to dispel that misery.
Mercy is also connected with justice. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), a great teacher and scripture scholar, said that mercy “does not destroy justice, but is a certain kind of fulfillment of justice. ..Mercy without justice is the mother of dissolution; (and) justice without mercy is cruelty.” Pardon without repentance negates justice. God’s mercy brings healing of mind, heart, and body So what is the significance of these ten lepers asking for mercy? They know they are in need of healing, not just physical, but spiritual healing as well. They approach Jesus with contrition and faith because they believe that he can release the burden of guilt and suffering and make restoration of body and soul possible. Their request for mercy is both a plea for pardon and release from suffering. Jesus gives mercy to all who ask with faith and contrition.
Why did only one leper out of ten return to show gratitude? Gratefulness, another word which expresses gratitude of heart and a thankful disposition, is related to grace – which means the release of loveliness. Gratitude is the homage of the heart which responds with graciousness in expressing an act of thanksgiving. The Samaritan approached Jesus reverently and gave praise to God.
Ingratitude leads to lack of love and kindness, and intolerance towards others If we do not recognize and appreciate the mercy and help shown to us we will be ungrateful and unkind towards others. Ingratitude is forgetfulness or a poor return for kindness received. Ingratitude easily leads to lack of charity and intolerance towards others, as well as to other vices, such as complaining, grumbling, discontentment, pride, and presumption. How often have we been ungrateful to our parents, pastors, teachers, and neighbors? Do you express gratitude to God for his abundant help and mercy towards you and are you gracious, kind, and merciful towards your neighbor in their time of need and support?
“Lord Jesus, may I never fail to recognize your loving kindness and mercy. Fill my heart with compassion and thanksgiving, and free me from ingratitude and discontentment. Help me to count my blessings with a grateful heart and to give thanks in all circumstances.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
HIS PIERCED, BEAUTIFUL FEET “He threw himself on his face at the feet of Jesus and spoke His praises.” Luke 17:16 There is something about the feet of Jesus. Because His feet are nail-scarred from the crucifixion (see Lk 24:39), they are beautiful (see Is 52:7). Jesus’ pierced feet bring the good news of salvation.
The Samaritan leper who was healed “threw himself on his face at the feet of Jesus” (Lk 17:16). Mary of Bethany “seated herself at the Lord’s feet and listened to His words” (Lk 10:39). Later, this “Mary brought a pound of costly perfume made from genuine aromatic nard, with which she anointed Jesus’ feet. Then she dried His feet with her hair” (Jn 12:3). “A woman known in the town to be a sinner” (Lk 7:37) stood behind Jesus “at His feet, weeping so that her tears fell upon His feet. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and perfuming them with the oil” (Lk 7:38). After the women leaving Jesus’ tomb met Him risen from the dead, they “embraced His feet and did Him homage” (Mt 28:9). In love for Jesus, we should throw ourselves at Jesus’ feet and embrace, kiss, and perfume His feet. At the pierced, beautiful feet of Jesus, we must repent of our sins and praise and worship Jesus. Throw yourself on your “face at the feet of Jesus” (Lk 17:16).
Prayer: “Glorious God, in adoration, at Your feet we belong” (from the song “Glorious God”). Promise: He saved us “through Jesus Christ our Savior, that we might be justified by His grace and become heirs, in hope, of eternal life. You can depend on this to be true.” Ti 3:6-8 Praise: St. Josaphat was misrepresented by both the East and the West when trying to reconcile the two factions. As a result, he was a victim of a murder plot.
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements