Final Thought

This Sunday is the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time. In yesterday’s post we considered how mercy and gratitude interplay in this narrative account. Today, let us turn to Alan Culpepper for a final thought (Luke, 328) :

This story also challenges us to regard gratitude as an expression of faith. At the end, Jesus says to the Samaritan, “Your faith has saved you.” That faith was expressed not primarily in the leper’s collective cry for help, but in the Samaritan’s act of recognition and cry of grateful praise. Only his “loud voice” of praise matched the leper’s raised voices to call out for help at the beginning of the story.

In what sense, then, is gratitude an expression of faith? Does gratitude follow from faith? Or is gratitude itself an expression of faith? If gratitude reveals humility of spirit and a sensitivity to the grace of God in one’s life, then is there any better measure of faith than wonder and thankfulness before what one perceives as unmerited expressions of love and kindness from God and from others?  Are we self-made individuals beholden to no one, or are we blessed daily in ways we seldom perceive, cannot repay, and for which we often fail to be grateful? Here is a barometer of spiritual health: If gratitude is not synonymous with faith, neither response to God is separable from the other. Faith, like gratitude, is our response to the grace of God as we have experienced it. For those who have become aware of God’s grace, all of life is infused with a sense of gratitude, and each encounter becomes an opportunity to see and to respond in the spirit of the grateful leper.

Source: R. Alan Culpepper, Luke in The New Interpreter’s Bible, Vol. IX (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1995) pp. 324-28

Image credit: CodexAureus Cleansing of the ten lepers, Public Domain, Wikimedia

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