After the ten lepers in today’s Gospel were healed, only one returned to thank the Lord for this favor. What is more, the one who did so was a Samaritan, a member of a group at enmity with the Jews in Jesus’ day. He would have been the most unlikely one to be singled out as a good example to the largely Jewish audience for whom this incident was being recounted.
In the Old Covenant there were thanksgiving sacrifices or “thank offerings.” In the New Covenant the Mass is our primary thanksgiving sacrifice. The Mass is the celebration of the eucharist (εὐχαριστία) which is the Greek word for “thanksgiving.”
Pastors in many parishes in our diocese and in our country are asking where the rest of the faithful are on Sunday who do not come to Mass. Why don’t all the faithful come to Sunday Mass, the first obligation of any Catholic in observing Sunday as the Lord’s Day? This is a question which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI addressed in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 73:
The life of faith is endangered when we lose the desire to share in the celebration of the Eucharist and its commemoration of the paschal victory. Participating in the Sunday liturgical assembly with all our brothers and sisters, with whom we form one body in Jesus Christ, is demanded by our Christian conscience and at the same time it forms that conscience. To lose a sense of Sunday as the Lord’s Day, a day to be sanctified, is symptomatic of the loss of an authentic sense of Christian freedom, the freedom of the children of God.
Let us make every effort to grow in our own appreciation of the eucharist in our own lives, so that we can witness to its importance to others and help them to return to give thanks to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ, “at whose command we celebrate these mysteries.” (Eucharistic Prayer III) “It is right and just.”
This weekend we welcome Monsignor Joseph Hirsch to make an appeal for the support of Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II, our diocesan orphanage near Lima, Peru. This is a ministry founded by the late Father Joseph Walijewski, a great missionary priest of our diocese. Father Walijewski’s vision was to take orphaned children off the streets, give them an education, teach them a trade, form them in the faith, and help them to become productive adults. Monsignor Hirsch is the current director of Casa Hogar and he will tell you the difference it makes in the lives of children who otherwise would be fending for themselves on the streets of Lima. Please respond generously to Monsignor Hirsch’s appeal. A second collection will be taken up next weekend for this cause and you may use the envelopes you receive for this purpose this weekend. Make checks payable to your parish.
October is the month of the rosary. Pray the rosary this week for people who have abandoned the practice of their faith, that they may find their way back to Mass and the sacraments. Pray for the children living at Casa Hogar Juan Pablo II and for the staff there. Finally, pray for the priests, deacons and pastoral associates of our diocese who will be gathering at Holy Cross Diocesan Center for the Fall Ministry Days on Monday and Tuesday of this week.
May God bless his people with peace.