It is significant that the Samaritan returned “glorifying God in a loud voice.” The Samaritan thanked Jesus, but gave his glory to Christ’s Father. Jesus recognizes this as an expression of the very faith that healed the man. The Samaritan’s thanks go to Christ for his healing power, but the glory goes to the loving God who sent Christ to us.
The Samaritan recognized a very important truth: we are utterly dependent on God, who works through everyday channels of grace to provide us everything we need. This realization contains a challenge. God’s gifts come to us everyday in large and small ways; we are rightly grateful for them, but do they strengthen our faith? And when we give God thanks, do we give glory as well? Do we see in God’s gifts a reminder of our dependence and his care for us?
More importantly, as we spread our own gifts and talents into the world, do we do so for God’s glory or our own? Likely we cannot heal leprosy; nonetheless, God has given us all abilities that save and uphold our brothers and sisters. When people thank us for our work, do we remember to give God the glory? Do we encourage them to do the same?
Pope Francis says, “In every age of history, humans try to understand and express themselves better.” The Samaritan alone expressed his faith in words of thanks and glory. In our own age of sophisticated self-promotion, may we find words of thanks and glory to express our own faith, and help our brothers and sisters deepen their trust in God’s providential love.
—Fr. Michael Simone, S.J. is beginning his ministry as instructor in Old Testament Studies at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry