32nd Week, Wednesday, Nov 11

St. Martin of Tours

Titus 3:1-7 / Luke 17:11-19


St. Martin of Tours, like other soldiers-to-become-saints, had a flair for courage, generosity and the flashy gesture. In his case, he famously used his sword to slash in half his cape, giving one part to a beggar. Presumably he kept the other half.

Similarly transforming was the gesture of St. Francis of Assisi kissing a leper, thus overcoming his fear of contagion, and strong desire to avoid the leprous man, with a courageous act of love.

Social distancing to avoid disease is nothing new. Long before the germ theory of disease, isolation and fear of contagion kept anyone with visible skin disease “unclean,” on the outskirts of society. According to custom, one could re-enter society only after a priest certified a cure.

The ten lepers in today’s Gospel needed to raise their voices to be heard from their (socially safe) distance.  “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” Jesus only instructs them to show themselves to the priests.

As they were going, all were cured, but like St. Martin of Tours’ kept half-cloak, only one – a foreigner – returned to thank Jesus. 

Again, a raising of the voice – a loud voice giving glory to God, and the cured one no longer distanced himself but courageously and with great faith approached Jesus, threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him.

For me it takes courage to raise my voice to God, to ask for a felt closeness, a sure knowledge of his love for me. But when I do, it is in the going that he answers me. God’s love for me becomes felt in acts of kindness toward those he presents to me throughout the day. Isolated as we are during Covid-19, a phone call, a letter, a prayer for others all manifest God’s love for us.  I can feel it.

May we all throw ourselves at Jesus’ feet and thank him.


A story has it that two angels were sent to collect the prayer petitions of the people. One angel was given a basket to collect the people's needs and requests, and the other angel was given a basket to collect the thanksgivings. On their way back to heaven, the angel carrying the basket of the people's needs and requests was full and over-flowing, whereas the angel carrying the people's thanksgiving was light and there were few thanksgivings. That is not surprising isn't it. By and large, people are more concerned with their needs rather than the need to give thanks.

 In the gospel, even Jesus expressed disappointment that those who were healed of the dreaded disease of leprosy did not come to give thanks.

 In the 1st reading St. Paul instructed Titus to remind his people that was their duty to be obedient to the officials and representatives of the government. If that is considered a Christian duty, then all the more it is an obligation and also the very essence of being Christian to give thanks to God for His blessings and graces.

What more will God not give since He had already given His only Son? We only need to give a basket-full of thanks and praise to God. In turn we will receive blessing upon blessing, grace upon grace.


Let us pray: Lord God, from you comes all we are and have; we owe you above all forgiveness and life through your Son Jesus Christ. We pray you today for grateful hearts. Make us thankful for the right things, not merely for being lucky in life nor for the happiness of the self-satisfied but for the joy that in him even suffering and death have meaning. Accept all our thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.