In response to the Gospel reading of the healing of the ten lepers in which one turns back to Jesus to give thanks, Fr. Matthew Howell preaches about the importance of gratitude and thanksgiving. He claims that the Christian life is a life of thanksgiving (or more properly, “The Thanksgiving”) and connects the dots by connecting the first line of the epistle (Col. 3:4) with our reception of holy communion–the Eucharist–in the liturgy. He also says that thankfulness is the path to attain humility which is the antidote to pride because “it is crowded at the center of the universe.” Along the way, he tells the story of a man who sends him a list of five things he is thankful for everyday, explains why we should be thankful for prayer requests that God denies, mentions that all God wanted from mankind was thanksgiving, quotes the Wisdom of Sirach, and even finds time to give a little explanation about how the Samaritan leper was saved in both body and soul through obedience and immediate thankfulness.
Brethren, when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
At that time, as Jesus entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said: “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 cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’s feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus: “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him: “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”