Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

'He Was A Samaritan'

Tim Lilley

“And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan” (Luke 17: 15-16).

Thanksgiving is next Thursday, and the Gospel reading for the Thanksgiving Mass is from Luke. A portion of it appears above.

In Jesus’ time, Jews despised Samaritans. He, however, saw them as his neighbors – as he saw all he came in contact with. Remember, one recent Sunday gospel quoted his pronouncement of the two greatest commandments – 1) Love the Lord God above all else, and 2) Love your neighbor as yourself.

He lived both commandments, and the Gospel for the Thanksgiving Mass is just one example. When 10 lepers cried out to him for pity, Jesus didn’t pause to figure out whether there were any Samaritans – or other non-Jews – in the group. He simply told them to go and show themselves to the priests, and they were healed along the way.

Only one of them returned to thank Jesus; he was a Samaritan. Next Thursday, will you spend time with Jesus and thank him?

Go to Mass; go to Eucharistic adoration; find a quiet spot at home or outdoors and pray the Rosary. Maybe best of all, ask those you gather with to join you in praying the Rosary before you sit down to that wonderful meal – or to a buffet line full of snacks and drinks to enjoy with all the football.

Although some have not, I have embraced and enjoyed the changes in the liturgical text for our Masses as a result of a revision of the Roman Missal. There is one phrase from the pre-revision text, however, that has stuck with me.

“We do well always and everywhere to give you thanks….”

We do; and we should – give thanks to God always and everywhere, for all that we find in our lives. Struggles too? Definitely; if for nothing else, thank God for helping you to understand that no matter the struggles and challenges you face, you will not walk alone. Even if in frustration-turned-anger, you refuse to acknowledge the presence of God in those times.

I suspect you have heard that old saying, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” Without hesitation, I admit that there have been more than a few times in my life where I have prayed aloud, “Lord, thank you; I didn’t realize I could handle so much.”

Truth is, I couldn’t handle so much without him. On Thanksgiving, I will thank God for walking with me in the worst of times and helping me to feel him at my side. I will thank God for walking with me in the best of times – and they have far outnumbered the worst of times.

This Thanksgiving will be a best-of-times kind of day because, Lord willing, I will enjoy dinner with my son-in-law, daughter and grandson. They will be visiting my son-in-law’s parents in Southern Illinois, less than two hours from Evansville.

From now until then – and after – I will channel my inner Samaritan and thank Jesus, His Father and the Holy Spirit for all they do, have done and will do in my life. Here’s hoping you will join me because we do well always and forever to give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!