Let me offer you a little riddle! What is this little word that we teach children from their earliest age and that you say several times a day? Haven’t you found it? Here, I’m giving you a clue: when you forget to say it, you are told “where is the magic word? Does ring a bell?? That word is T H A N K Y O U, yes! Thank you! We don’t always realize how important it is to us and to others to say thank you. It is good for everything, for health, morale, school and also for feeling well. To say thank you is to express gratitude. One day, people to whom Jesus had done good did not say Thank you. Do you know what happened? You will find out by listening to this story that you can read again in the Gospel of Luke in chapter 17.
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Full text of this story :
THE TEN LEPERS
Jesus and his disciples go to Jerusalem. They walk along the border between two regions, Samaria and Galileo. They are approaching a village when ten men come to meet them, including a resident of Samaria, a Samaritan. They are dressed miserably. The disciples see them coming with anxiety: – They are lepers! What a sight! They say to themselves. – I hope they don’t come to us! – No, look! They are no longer moving forward, so much the better! Indeed, these men stop at a good distance. They respect the law which forbids them to approach the village. Because they are contagious, they cannot have contact with anybody. They have left their family, their friends, their jobs. They are condemned to live away from everyone. Their life is sad. They are in constant pain as the disease progresses day by day and they know they will never heal. They are mutilated and horribly disfigured. They are scary; everyone shuns them. The disciples are relieved to see them stay away from them. But suddenly, they jump when they hear the lepers scream: – Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Master! Have mercy on us! – We beg you, have mercy, heal us! It’s amazing to see them and even more to hear those cries of distress. Jesus is neither scared, nor frightened but on his face can be read an immense compassion. What is he going to do? Approach and touch them? He says to them: – Go to the priest! Show yourself to him The disciples do not understand, everyone here knows very well that a leper can only go and see the priest when there are no more traces of the disease. Then, the priest checks him and officially declares that the patient is cured and can resume a normal life. But, there, nothing has happened, the leprosy has not gone away. How could they present themselves? In front of the priest? It’s impossible! Yet Jesus asks them to go, because for him they are already healed. Will they obey? It would mean that they believe what Jesus is saying is true even if they don’t see it yet. Without delay, the ten lepers set out for the priest’s house. For sure, they walk with difficulty, because illness has weakened them a lot, but they go. On the way, one of the lepers stops and looks at his companion: – Your skin … your skin, look … it has changed! It is like new, very smooth! And addressing another, he says: – But you too … your scars have gone! – And me too! Look! -We are all healed, all ten of us! Completely healed! There are no more traces of our leprosy! They start to run, jumping for joy. – That’s wonderful! We are healed! – Let’s hurry! The sooner we see the priest, the sooner we can go back home – I can’t wait to see my family, they won’t recognize me! – It’s the most beautiful day of my life! Suddenly the Samaritan stops and thinks: – But … but it was Jesus who healed us! HE performed this miracle! He restored our health. It’s a new life that begins thanks to him. But what am I doing here? This is not right! I must find Him and say thank you to Him. He turns to his comrades but they are no longer there, they have disappeared. He turns around and runs in the opposite direction singing out loud: – Glory to God, Glory to God who healed me! To the few people he meets he asks: – Where is Jesus? Did you see him go by? I want to find Him because He healed me of leprosy! When he finds Him, he throws himself at his feet with his face against the ground saying: – Lord! Thank you! With all my heart I say thank you! As you had told me, I am completely healed! The leprosy is gone, I thank you, you have done such a great miracle for me. Jesus looks around and, with a lot of sadness, He says to him: – There were ten of you; all ten were healed, weren’t they? Where are the other nine? None of them thought of coming back to praise God and thank him? Only you came back. The man is ashamed of the ingratitude, the lack of thankfulness of his comrades and he no longer dares to get up. So Jesus says to him: – Get up, my friend! You can go home! Your faith has saved you! This man stands up with a heart full of gratitude and love for Jesus. He’s healed, Jesus saved him!
1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! Now you know what happened. Because these men, who were healed, did not even come back to thank Him and give glory to God, Jesus expressed, before all who were there, the sadness of his heart. He also told the Samaritan that he did well to come back to tell him his gratitude, his love and his worship. I encourage you to say “Thank You”, quite simply, in your own words. You can do it when you want and where you want, your thanks you will always be received with joy.
4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! We are sometimes shocked by the ingratitude of children who think they are owed everything. But, everything can be learned, gratitude too! We must teach them, from their youngest age to say thank you to God and to the people they meet, starting with their parents and all those who take care of them. They sometimes have difficulty thanking God because they do not know for what reasons they should do it, but you can help them by awakening them to all that God gives them every day. I leave you this beautiful verse 15 of Psalm 50: “Call on me in the day of distress, I will deliver you and you will glorify me.”