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Mass prep – 3 points/30 seconds: The mother of all virtues

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Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik - published on 10/08/22

The Samaritan thanked Jesus. The word used here is "eucharisteo."

The Gospel for this Sunday is Luke 17:11-19

Why is gratitude important in life?

1.               Introduction

Gratitude is so important in life that even the most important prayer is called “thanksgiving” from the Greek word “eucharisteo.”  In the Gospel, Jesus raises very important questions that also address the issue of our gratitude. 

2.               Key words

As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.

Being a leper is one of life’s greatest tragedies. In addition to a terrible disease, those individuals were left to their own fate. They could not have contact with other people. That’s why they cried out loudly to Jesus for help from afar.    

Jesus told them to show themselves to the priests because that was the requirement of the law. Priests were the ones to assess whether lepers were truly free of leprosy and could return to normal life. All the ten lepers from the Gospel passage trusted Jesus, and as they were walking, they were healed. 

And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.

The Samaritan thanked Jesus. The word used here is “eucharisteo.” The same one from which the word Eucharist is derived. So when we come to the Eucharist we are like the Samaritan who came to thank Jesus.   

Jesus is not concerned with the applause of people, but much more. He is concerned with getting a person into a relationship with God, because that is what makes us happy. Whoever is grateful, he or she turns to God.  

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Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Jesus also embarrasses the law-abiding believers. He calls the healed Samaritan a foreigner, literally under the Greek “allogenes” (“allos” – another, “genes” – nation). This is the only place where this word occurs in the New Testament. It was known to Jews because it appeared in an inscription on the wall surrounding the courtyard of the Jerusalem temple. According to this inscription, a foreigner, that is, a non-Jew, was not allowed to enter the courtyard. The penalty for doing so was death. Thus, one who could not approach the temple puts believers in the One God to shame. 

Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; yourfaithhassavedyou.”

Jesus is not only about healing the body, but about something more. That’s why he said these words. 

3.     Today

Cicero wrote that gratitude is not only the greatest virtue, but the mother of all other virtues. How do I express gratitude to God and people? Do I have time for God, my parents, my family? Do I also have time for myself? Am I at the Eucharist every Sunday to give thanks for the whole week? 

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