In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus encounters ten lepers shouting at him for help. He tells them to go and show themselves to the priest, who would certify they were cured of disease. On the 80-mile journey to Jerusalem, the ten are cleansed, but only one of them—a Samaritan—shows gratitude to God. Jesus asks this Samaritan, “Where are the other nine?”
In today’s sermon, Fr. Gregory speaks on the gratitude that only the Samaritan expressed. He first explains how suffering and gratitude are related. When we acknowledge that life involves suffering, it does not negate our ability to be grateful. In fact, it is difficult to be truly grateful without the existence of suffering.
Fr. Gregory points out St. Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians: “It is the will of God to always give thanks regardless of circumstance.” This gratitude toward God, Fr. Gregory explains, is for our own good. He highlights the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of practicing gratitude, as well as the consequences of its alternative—negative thoughts.
In the modern day, our expectations for life are so high that it can be difficult for us to be thankful for ordinary things. We must, therefore, actively practice gratitude, fighting against our instinct to fixate on our problems. To do this, Fr. Gregory suggests three things: coming to church, serving others, and journaling what we’re grateful for. By practicing gratitude, we can be like the Samaritan who gave thanks.