Thanksgiving Day, 27 November 2014 “Cause / Effect”
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
[__01] On this Thanksgiving Day, we read the Gospel Book of Luke, Chapter 17,the episode of the 10 lepers.
All ten of them cried out, all ten of them gained the attention of our Savior, all ten of them asked for healing. And, all ten of them experienced the effect of this healing, the visible effect of healing in their lives.
And, for this effect, for this improvement, would it not be safe to say that all ten were glad. All ten were, in some way, grateful for their restoration to health.
[__02] The effect was readily seen; the cause which led to the effect was not as visible.
Only 1 in 10 investigated the cause. Only 1 of the 10 returned to find the cause in Jesus.
[__03] And, isn’t it true for us that we can observe the EFFECTS more easily than the CAUSES of many things.
We can observe the effects of an earthquake, or of a tsunami. However, to identify the cause, we would have to dig or submerge ourselves much deeper.
Right now, in our country, in Ferguson, in Missouri, and other places in the United States, we observe the effects of a particular incident, the effects of a shooting, the effects of an encounter of a young man with a police officer, the effects of the death of young black man who was shot by a white police officer. We are now observing the effects, the dangerous and violent side effects of the incident.
What is harder to address, to solve are the causes. For the cause is not only the single incident or the lack of an indictment in this particular case. There are protests because of other injustices.
It is easy to see the effects, hard to see, to address the cause.
[__04] This does not mean that there is no cause, or that we should be indifferent to causes or to difficulties.
Sometimes, it just takes longer for us to understand them.
[__05] In the Gospel reading, we observe that one of the ten is healed and returns to give thanks. 1 of the 10 returns to the cause, to the source of his healing.
However, it took him more time, took him away from his current direction, and led to this reverse-commute back to see Christ.
When we come before our Lord in prayer, we are coming not only for an effect, for a positive effect.
We are also coming for a cause.
We pray about and consider the causes so that we can know what and whom to believe in our lives.
[__06] In school, don’t students search for these “clues” from their teachers. They search to know what and why – the cause – of a certain lesson, or formula…. Or piece of information.
They will ask…is this important.. will this be on the final exam.
Coaches prepare their players to work together, to create one “cause”, one unified force …
The UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden was asked once about whether he hoped his team would have good luck…good fortune in the game.
His response was that he, of course, wanted, good luck…but he did not want to rely on the randomness of lucky breaks …for a positive effect, a positive outcome.
He simply wanted a good cause … good cause leads to good effects.
[__06.01] Could we not say the same about our call to love others, to care for them … that we are seeking not simply a fortunate/beneficial outcome. … but we are seeking to contribute to the cause.
As Jesus himself says you shall know the tree by its fruit … a bad tree does not produce good fruit.
Today, as we reflect on good things, blessings, struggles we have endured, we might also give thanks for not only for good results…. But also for the causes, our good intentions of others.
While we do not always receive immediately what we pray for , it is important that we pray immediately… [pray constantly as St. Paul writes] so that we know what we might be receiving, so that we will know what God is giving, what is God causing….. by a particular event, sorrow, or joy in our lives.
[__06.02] Coming to Mass, to prayer, we are not simply trying to improve our RESULTS, our EFFECTS.
Are we not also asking for God’s guidance about the causes to which we contribute … not only charitable causes with gifts of time or money…
But, also how do I allocate my patience, my cheerfulness, my gratitude.
Saying thank you today to our family, friends …whether nearby or remote, we are also returning to the cause, by a reverse commute.
[__06.03] Coming to prayer, we also recall that sometimes we are in the highest tenth percentile, sometimes, we are in the lowest 90th percentile.
Sometimes, we are ahead of God’s curve, sometimes behind.
Nevertheless, we might also recall that the consideration of causes and effects invites us to consider not what everybody else would do …nor what percentile they are in… but what would I do? What would you do? What can we do?
“Where the other nine?”, Jesus asks
This is a statement reserved to God…reserved to Christ in this episode. It is not, we might observe, asked by the 1 person who returns.
The Good News was that he neither knew their location nor reduced his motivation.
Wherever the others are, or whatever effects that they may be caught up in, this need not slow us down on our journey to rediscover or Savior and our source of Thanksgiving.