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The heart of gratitude

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November 15, 2017 Wednesday,
32nd Week in
Ordinary Time
ST. JOSAPHAT 1st |Reading: Wis 6:1-11 Gospel: Lk 17:11–19

On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus was passing along the borderbetween Samaria and Galilee, and as he entered a village, ten leperscame to meet him. Keeping their distance, they called to him, “Jesus,Master, have pity on us!” Then Jesus said to them, “Go and showyourselves to the priests.” Now, as they went their way, they foundthey were cured. One of them, as soon as he saw he was cleansed,turned back praising God in a loud voice, and throwing himself on hisface before Jesus, he gave him thanks. This man was a Samaritan.Then Jesus said, “Were not all ten healed? Where are the othernine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God but this alien?” And Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go your way; your faithhas saved you.

”D@iGITAL-EXPERIENCE (Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart”, wrote Jean Baptiste Massieu in his “Letter to Abbe Sicard”. Memory is generally associated with intellection while the heart with feelings and sensation. In saying that memory is the function of the heart, Abbe Sicard comes close to the Old Anglo Saxon concept of thinking (an act of the intellect) as the other side of thanking (an act normally ascribed to the heart).

To thank is to think because one cannot thank if he does not reflect on the good things the donor has done to him. Under this think-thank relationship, the deeper one’s reflection about the good received, the more intense his gratitude develops. In today’s Gospel reading the Samaritan made a deeper reflection after Jesus healed him of leprosy. Jews frowned upon Samaritans as outside the embrace of God’s graciousness for being unclean. To the Jews, that Samaritan was twice unclean. Considered unclean for being a Samaritan and not a Jew, he was also considered literally unclean for being a leper.

Nonetheless Jesus cured him without further questions about his identity. Reflecting on this, the Samaritan felt so grateful and returned to Jesus to give him thanks.

Not all who think end up thanking. Proud people think a lot but they thank very little. They are so self-centered that they think others are duty bound to do good to them.   The nine other lepers probably thought they deserved the healing because as Jews they belonged to the chosen people of God.

The Samaritan leper, on the other hand, was aware of his unworthiness and so felt so much gratitude. “Gratitude”, wrote Jean Baptiste Massieu, “is the memory of the heart”. This memory is sharpest when the heart is humble. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M. Email:dan.delosangeles@gmail.com.

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