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's 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." Luke 17:12-19 (NRSV)
In today's scripture reading, ten men with a skin disease stood at a distance and "raised their voices" to Jesus, crying out for mercy. At that time these people would have been made to live on the outskirts of the city because of their disease. When they heard the news that Jesus could heal the sick, they came to him. Jesus asked them to show themselves to the priests. On their way to the temple, all ten men were healed. But one man came back to thank Jesus. He fell at Jesus' feet, expressing his gratitude and praising God.
Inspired by this man who expressed gratitude, Reshmisaadhana Y.R., from Tamil Nadu, India, tries to give thanks to God for every blessing she has received - even the smallest ones. When she travels by bus from college back to her hostel, she starts thanking God. There are times when she forgets to give thanks, like the days when she falls sick or when she has examinations, yet those days never feel complete.
So often we are ready to do what God says, but we cannot hear God's word because we are far away. We fail to see the distance that is created by our lack of gratitude. To reduce the distance between God and us, we can start giving thanks. The more we give thanks, the closer we get to God.
Prayer: Dear God, we give thanks for each blessing you bestow. Help us to draw closer to you through expressions of gratitude, in Jesus' name. Amen.