“Then as he entered a certain village, there met him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ So when he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.’” (Lk 17: 12-19)
This Thanksgiving, when we all have learned how it feels to be “lepers,” who must “stand afar off” from one another, the above-quoted passage about a healed “leper” giving thanks to the Lord speaks to me in a new way. Because I’m alive and well amidst a global pandemic, I feel like a healed leper with a choice: I can either be grateful and give thanks to the Lord, or I can do the opposite.
This 2020 I choose to be grateful for myself and anyone reading this: 1. For being alive; 2. For the medical professionals who care for the sick and dying amongst us at this time; 3. For the scientists who have been working on producing vaccines, to bring us out of this pandemic; and 4. For those amongst the civil and church authorities who are making oft-unpopular decisions to keep us safe.
Even as we’ve been divided this year, not only physically but also spiritually, by the vexing issues surrounding the Coronavirus, I pray that we can be united today, in gratitude to God. Because Thanksgiving (Eucharistia) is healing, when I choose to let it into my heart. “Let us give thanks to the Lord! Εὐχαριστήσωμεν τῷ Κυρίῳ. Благодарим Господа!”