(Sirach 50:22-24; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Luke 17:11-19)
A number of years ago a worker in a Central American country fulfilled his promise to the Virgin Mary. He had asked her intercession for the success of his country’s soccer team in the World Cup playoffs. The team had done well for a small country winning games against two European competitors. Making a pilgrimage on foot to the national shrine of the Virgin was this man’s way of saying “thanks.” We are given a holiday today to do the same.
And that is another reason to be thankful. Employers, spurred by government mandate, are paying us without our having to do any work. As if it were a Sunday, we have a large swath of time to give thanks. We pray, rest, and enjoy the company of friends all in the spirit of thankfulness. Every day holds many reasons to thank God. The wise person does not retire without doing so.
The gospel indicates that God takes notice of our giving thanks and our not doing it. It tells us that Jesus asks the one leper who thanked him why the other nine he cured didn’t. More significantly, the passage emphasizes that Jesus rewards the one who does with salvation. We can say that our recognition of God as our benefactor is crucial. It will save us from the punishment due for our sins.