Luke 17:11-19 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."
Reflection Recognizing God’s merciful presence and turning toward God, turning and praising God. How many times each day do I receive a smile from a stranger? a kind word from a coworker? a heart-probing story of someone’s life? an insight that steers my direction? a glimpse of beauty in the sky? on the ground? in the leathered face of an old one? in a breath that animates my life? How many times each day does God reveal God’s self to me? How many times do I recognize Divine Presence, turn around and praise God?
I must confess I spend more time questioning God than turning around and praising God. “Why don’t You do something with the hearts and minds of this country’s stubborn leaders so they stop playing games of winner takes all? Why do You make some people so difficult to love? Why don’t You transform my heart so that I can love as You do? (And let’s not even get into the matter of people suffering.) Oh, yes, would You please inspire me with meaningful words to share with Your people?”
What if I turned around? What if I were to recognize God present in the Joy and Sorrow that swell my heart? in the Clarity that informs my mind? in the Drive that stirs my spirit? in the Courage that fortifies my will? in the Awe that stuns and bewilders my soul? What if I were to recognize God present in every one of the 23,040 breaths I am given to breathe this day? What if I turned around and praised God for every breath and all that I experience?
All day, every day, God’s grace and mercy pour through creation; kissing our wounds, enlivening our bodies, igniting our desires, illumining our minds and strengthening our will. I believe St. Teresa of Avila (a sixteenth century Spanish mystic) knew this when she asked, “How long will grown men and women in this world keep drawing in their coloring books an image of God that makes them sad?” Surely St. Teresa took St. Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonians to heart, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess 5:16-18) Recognize God present, turn around, praise God, for you have been made well in all circumstances.
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