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Grateful to God—Beyond Obedience

In Luke is a curious Thanksgiving story: Ten lepers call to Jesus, asking to be healed. He tells them to go and show themselves to the priests. On the way, they're healed. One of them turns back, throws himself at Jesus' feet and thanks him. He loudly and emphatically praises God.

Isotry Missionaries of Charity center in Antananarivo, Madagascar

A child receives food at the Isotry Missionaries of Charity center in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Photo by David Snyder for CRS

Jesus asks, Weren't ten healed? Why has only one come back to praise God?

But, Jesus, you told them to go see the priests! Weren't they being obedient?

Nine did exactly what they were told. The one who turned back did something very telling (note that he was a hated Samaritan). He did not obey—at least not immediately from what we know from the story—but came back with noisy thanksgiving.

Gratitude is a gift from God. It gives us a way to respond to the Creator. With it, God gives us a way to respond to the brother who gives us a gift, to the sister who tends to a wound.

At Catholic Relief Services, we see gratitude poured out to supporters like you every day. Children are fed at schools; women now have wells closer to home; men use new skills to earn money for their families. Their gratitude goes out to you, even though you may never hear it.

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, we offer you here an infinitesimally few stories of gratitude in thanks for your support.

Khawla Elia was secretary general of CRS' partner agency Caritas Iraq. Forced to run from her job and her country, she lives today as a refugee in Syria. She never thought she'd be on the receiving end of your compassion and assistance.

In this personal reflection, CRS Regional Information Officer Helen Blakesley relays a story of thanksgiving amid great turmoil in Liberia.

And we offer an old favorite—a story we never tire of telling—about a grateful woman receiving water from her community's brand new well. Her thanks goes to you for your support of CRS.

Thank you for making hearts grateful. Thank you for responding. Happy Thanksgiving.

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