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Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 6:1-11 & Lk. 17:11-19

All authority comes from God. All men and women who wield it will one day stand before His throne and account for how they used the authority He gave them. Parents and priests, bosses and even babysitters will have to answer on how they behaved. The more important their role, the tougher will be the questions they have to face. Popes, bishops, kings and presidents will have to face “a strict scrutiny before the Judge of all.” (Wis. 6:8).

Most of us have relatively small spheres of influence. So should we thank our lucky stars? No! It would be far better if we dropped on our knees and prayed for our leaders. They face immense burdens! Consider politicians. God requires them to exercise their authority justly and impartially, upholding the law. In effect they have a parent’s job, magnified thousands of times over.

As if their responsibilities were not enough, our spiritual and political leaders face a fierce onslaught from Satan as well. He knows how much control and influence they have. He wants power to go to their heads so that they make the wrong decisions and fail. He knows by influencing them he can lead whole nations astray. Consider Pontius Pilate and King Herod. Each could have made choices that would have made them great in God’s kingdom. Instead, they became pawns of an enemy who hated God. Surely, we don’t want our leaders to take that route!

So we must pray that our leaders do their job well. May they be good shepherds. May they be given the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.

I am convinced that the ungrateful person would never dream of hurting their benefactor. Yet their very failure to express their thanks does hurt. We have a perfect example of this in the Gospel story of the ten lepers. When Jesus cured them only one came back to say his thanks. We can see how hurt Jesus was. For Our Lord said to him, “Were not ten made clean? Where are the other nine?”

If at this moment we could bring each of those ungrateful lepers, one by one, into this Church and tell them how they hurt Our Lord for their failure to say thank you, I am sure each one of them would protest. One might say, 'You haven’t a clue about leprosy – Jesus restored my hand where there was just a stump.' Another might ask, “Do you see my nose? There was just a hole in my face until Jesus gave me back my nose.' A third could add, 'We were social outcasts. We could not live with our families. We had to give up work. We were denied the synagogue. We were as good as dead men. Jesus changed all that. He gave us a new lease of life. How could we ever want to hurt Him for all He had done to us?'

Yet their failure to thank Him did hurt Him. Jesus said to the one who returned, “Your faith has saved you.” His generosity was rewarded. Those nine who failed to thank Him lost that reward.

It is interesting to note that in our language how similar are the two words think and thank. It is the person who thinks is the one who thanks.

Lord, we pray for all in high places who exercise authority. May they exercise it to the best of their ability. Let Your kingdom come through those You establish as rulers. Lord Jesus, may we always be grateful to You for all Your many kindnesses to us.

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