The God of Multiple Blessings

October 9, 2022; Lk 17:11-19; 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

In today’s gospel, Jesus meets ten lepers. Usually when we hear this story, we focus on the lepers. What they want is clear. They want to be healed of their leprosy, and indeed this happens during the story. But today I do not want to focus on the lepers and what they want. I want to focus on Jesus and what he wants. What he wants is to bless the lepers more than once. He first wants to bless them by removing their leprosy. But that blessing is meant to lead to another. The second blessing that Jesus wishes to give the lepers is faith in him. Yet only one leper returns for this second blessing. Only one leper hears the words of Jesus, “Stand up and go. Your faith has saved you.” This is why it is with sadness that Jesus asks, “Where are the other nine?” For some reason, they did not realize that there would be more than one blessing. For some reason, they were satisfied with the blessing they already possessed.

What today’s gospel reveals to us is that our God is a God of multiple blessings. Our God blesses us so that we might be blessed again. Therefore, our attitude towards God must be more than being thankful for what we have received. It must also include an attentiveness, a watching for the ways in which the blessings we already possess might lead to further blessings.

You might be blessed with a solid marriage, and you may be thankful for it. But God wants to bless you more. That is why we must always be aware of ways in which our marriage can be deepened and grow. We need to look for opportunities where we can be more honest, more authentic with our spouse, sharing not only our thoughts but our feelings as well. We need to be open to new activities and experiences we can do together, so that as a married couple we might rejoice more deeply in the way that God continues to bless us.

We might be blessed with financial security, the ability to provide for our family or enter into retirement without worry. But God wants to bless us more. That is why we must reflect whether some of our wealth can be shared with family members or others that we know that are struggling financially or given to support a social agency that does good in our society.

We might be blessed with a living faith, a faith that brings us here to church regularly, a faith that guides us by its moral principles, a faith that comforts us when we are in distress. But God wants to bless us more. God may be suggesting that our faith be used not only to give us comfort, but to energize us to join in God’s agenda of building a better world. God may be calling us to become more active in politics or to align ourselves with social groups that oppose poverty, racism, and other forms of prejudice.

We have all been blessed, and by and large we are thankful. But God intends one blessing to lead to another. That is why we must always be attentive to the way that the blessing that we possess can deepen and grow. Such awareness will make us like the one leper who returned to Jesus, glorifying God in a loud voice and discovering the ever-deepening joy that flows from God’s love.

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