14Nov 14 November. Wednesday, Week 32

1st Reading: Titus (3:1-7)

Paul is a radical convert, now guided by the Spirit

Remind the brethren to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone.

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Resp. Psalm (Ps 22)

R.: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit. (R./)

He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort. (R./)

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing. (R./)

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever. (R./)

Gospel: Luke (17:11-19)

Out of ten lepers healed, only one returned to say thanks

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 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’ 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.”


Why so ungrateful?

Nine of the lepers who were cured missed a golden chance, when they failed to say thanks. Jesus praises the one man who did come back to thank him, “Your faith has saved you.”  We need a faith like this,  to recognize our dependency on God for life and its blessings, and our dependence on others on our way towards eternal life. God inspires us to put our best self to the service of life, and so to give praise to our Maker. The Samaritan who threw himself at Jesus’ feet is told, “Stand up and go on your way.” He goes on to live his life, no longer forbidden to live close to his neighbours, no longer ostracized as unclean, resuming life as it ought to be, blessed with good health and gratitude.

Alongside this positive note comes a sombre commentary on human unresponsiveness. “Were not all ten made whole? Where are the other nine? Was there no one to return and give thanks to God except this foreigner?” Perhaps it was their sudden return to good health that distracted and amazed the other nine that they failed in the normal courtesy of returning to thank Jesus for their cure.

Titus gets from Paul a list of practical instructions for the Christians in Crete: to be loyally subject to civil government; not to be slanderous or quarrelsome; to display perfect courtesy towards everyone. All these virtues seem within our normal ability, yet Paul ends by stating, “God has saved us, not because of any good deed we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us and justified us by his grace.” In this view, no real virtue is possible without God’s Spirit given us through Jesus Christ.

Graced in many ways

We have all been graced in various ways; we have all received so much in life. We don’t always recognize that the ultimate source of all these graces and gifts is God. It was gratitude that distinguished the Samaritan leper from the other nine who were cured along with him. All ten were equally graced; they had all been healed from a disease that left them only half-alive. Yet only one of them, finding himself cured, “turned back praising God at the top of his voice.” He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him because he recognized the miracle of his cure. He thanked Jesus, but he praised God. He had the insight to see that God was at work in the healing power of Jesus.

The Samaritan leper is praised for his insight. Jesus didn’t say, “nobody has come back to thank me, except this foreigner,” but “no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.” He goes on to state, “your faith has saved you.” This leper had the vision of faith, to recognize God at work in what had happened to him, in the extraordinary way he had been graced. We are called to have a similar faith; to recognize and thank God at work in all those experiences of grace that bless us in the course of our lives. God’s grace calls for a response of praise and thanksgiving.


(Saint Lawrence O’Toole, bishop)

Observed in Dublin as a solemnity, with special readings: Ezekiel 36:24-28; Colossians 3:12-15; John 10:11-18.)
Lorcán Ua Tuathail (1128-1180) was Archbishop of Dublin at the time of the Norman invasion of Ireland. He played a prominent role in reforming the Irish Church in the second half of 12th century and mediated with the Normans during and after the invasion.

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