This Sunday we read the gospel from Luke 17:12-19 about the ten lepers who asked Jesus to heal them when he entered into a certain village. Jesus instructed them to show themselves to the priests, which they did and were healed. Then one of the ten turned back to thank Jesus and glorify Him and he was a Samaritan, but the other nine did not. Jesus then said were there not ten yet only one returned to give thanks. Then Jesus said to the one who returned, “Arise, go your way your faith has made you well”. This was indeed a lesson in gratitude for the healing that was given by God, but it also tells us that sometimes though healed many do not return to give thanks and glorify God for all he has done for us.
Today is also the Feast of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker (December 6th), at which we read the gospel from St. Luke 6:17-23 concerning Jesus who went onto a level place where the people of Judea and Jerusalen as well as from the seacoast in Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and be healed of their infirmities and afflictions. Jesus then after they were healed spoke the words, “Blessed are the poor for yours is the kingdom of heaven”, and then, “Blessed are you who hunger now for you shall be filled….and the other Beatitudes”. “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven”.
This gospel passage extols the virtues of our faith as evidenced in the life of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the Bishop of Myra in Lycea and one of the most revered saints of the Church. St. Nicholas who lived in the 4th century, became known for his warm and generous heart, his love for children and the poor, his care for the sick and his gift-giving. For many he was, and continues to be a shining symbol of Christ’s love and compassion. The hymn for this day sums on his many spiritual qualities, “The truth of your deeds has set you before your flock as a standard of faith, an example of meekness and a teacher of abstinence. Thus you acquired greatness through humility and spiritual wealth through poverty. O Holy Father and hierarch, Nicholas, intercede to Christ our God, that He may save our souls”.