I almost didn't go back and read the gospel for today since I heard it during RCIA on Wednesday and Mass last night. But, since I had my notebook open, I went ahead and read it anyway. Every reflection I read and the homily I heard last night infers that the 9 lepers left, knowing they were healed. But what if they didn't realize they had been healed until they were further down the road? What if, when they realized they were healed, they thought they were too far away? Did the Samaritan cry out that he had been healed, bringing attention to their healing and the other 9 chose to go on to the priests? The gospel only says:
And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice Luke 17:15
The bottom line: It doesn't matter when the others realized they were healed. If they thought they were too far away, they should have dropped to their knees, giving thanks for their healing. How many little things happen during our day that we don't give thanks for? It would just take a second to say a quick "thank you", yet, like the other 9, we often just walk away, taking things for granted.
In the homily, my parish priest said that the Samaritan had a double whammy against him: he was a leper and a Samaritan. He thanked Jesus for making him whole; for giving him salvation. (He mentioned that the Latin root for "salvation" is "salvus", which means "whole".) He went on to say that salvation requires an "RSVP on our part". How do we RSVP? How do we give thanks? We only have to look at the Eucharist. We partake in the Eucharist, because "eucharist" actually means "thanksgiving". But, it isn't enough to only take part in the Eucharist during Mass; we are called to continue the eucharist out into the world. We have to make it part of our daily lives.
In the reflection from Blessed is She, Laurel Muff speaks about keeping a daily gratitude journal. I've done this before, and it really does help you to be thankful for the little things. Even when you've had the worse day possible, if you just take a minute to write down 1 thing you're grateful for, you'll realize things aren't so bad after all.