Our readings today remind us to always be thankful: we have been greatly blessed and God is accompanying us, no matter what. St. Paul says, “whatever happens, keep thanking God” and our Gospel is the powerful story of the 10 lepers who were cured and only one, a foreigner, came back to thank Jesus. And you know what? Jesus told him he was saved, much better than simply being healed!
I remember a parishioner at the parish where I was in Mesa, Arizona. Her husband had a severe heart attack a few years after they were married and his heart was badly damaged. The doctors said that, if he survived the attack, he wouldn’t live more than a year or two. But he lived 25 productive years longer! After he died, his wife was angry and couldn’t understand why God would take him. Years later, she is still miserable. If she could be thankful that God gave her those extra 25 years, reflecting and cherishing those memories, she would be happy. But she is miserable.
As we go through life, there will always be problems and disappointments. As I have aged, I can’t do all the things I used to enjoy, like tennis and bike riding. I can concentrate on all the negatives and be miserable or I can be thankful to God for all the wonderful things he has done for me, dwelling on those happy memories with gratitude in my heart. Then I will be happy and at peace! It is up to us, we decide. In other words, we determine whether we will be miserable or happy, not outside circumstances.
My prayer for us today is that we can follow the advice of St. Paul: “whatever happens, keep thanking God.” Then we will be happy.
Church sign of the week: If the only prayer you say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would be enough.