(Sirach 50:22-24; I Corinthians 1:3-9; Luke 17:11-19)
A number of years ago University of Texas quarterback gave a stellar performance in the Rose Bowl. He scored a number of touchdowns and was chosen as the game’s most valuable player. In a post-game interview, the young player did not brag of his accomplishment. Rather, he gave credit for his success to others. He praised his teammates for their cooperation and thanked his family for their role in making him into the player he was. In displaying such gratitude Vince Young emulates the Samaritan who returns to Jesus giving thanks.
The gospel passage is unique to Luke. Jesus heals ten lepers and sends them off to the priest for inspection so that they may once again participate in society. One of those healed, however, on noticing that he has indeed been cleansed of the dreaded disease returns to thank Jesus. When he expresses gratitude for full health, Jesus bestows on him the richer blessing of salvation.
Today Americans and all living in the United States have the opportunity to thank God for the blessings bestowed on this great country. When we do so from the heart – that is, not just by gathering to eat turkey or by even sitting in prayer around the table – but by a change of course as dramatic as the Samaritan’s who returns to Jesus, we also can count on his blessing of salvation.