Naaman the leper - an army commander from Syria cured by Elisha & the Ten Lepers cured by Jesus. Earlier generations used to say “Thank God” after remarking about fine weather, success in business or at school, the safe arrival of a child, or a recovery from illness. It’s a good custom, built on a tradition of faith and prayer. We might wonder whether a people truly grateful to God would not show it more in their way of life. A grateful people might be more ready to share what they have. while so many are unemployed and the politics of austerity threatens the welfare of the elderly and the chronically ill. How satisfying it is to receive a sincere “Thank you” for a service truly appreciated. There is a warmth in
being thanked for things we’ve done. The contrary also holds, of course: how hurtful it is to be consistently taken for granted, without ever a word of appreciation. One out of ten cured in the Gospel was a fairly poor proportion; but then, truly appreciative people, who show their thanks, are rare enough in all walks of life.
After Mass, we need to bring this thankful spirit into practical social expression in our treatment of others; seeing our life as gift, we should be better able to accept the realities of daily living and share our blessings with others in a generous spirit.
As Shakespeare wrote in King Lear, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.”
The Eucharist is a reminder never to forget God’s greatest gift to us, his own Son, our Saviour. We need to thank God from the heart, like Naaman after his cure, or like the leper who was grateful to Jesus. What a pity the other nine did not say a word of thanks for the blessing they received.