Father Gregory Woodward, LC
Luke 17: 11-19
continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria
and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers
met him. They stood at a distance from him and
raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on
us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go
show yourselves to the priests” As they were going they
were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had
been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked
him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other
nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give
thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand
up and go; your faith has saved you.”
Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are present here as
I turn to you in prayer. I trust and
have confidence in your desire to give me every
grace I need to receive today. Thank you for your
love, thank you for your immense generosity toward me.
I give you my life and my love in return.
Petition: Lord, may I know what gratitude really
is and live up to this call.
1. Jesus Shows
Pity: It is easy to forget at times what
it meant to be a leper in Jesus’ time. Such
a person had to separate himself from the community,
live outside the town, and declare himself “unclean” when
anybody started to approach him. Since illness was also equated
with sin. According to the mentality of the time,
God punished the sinner with physical illness. Thus, to
have to shout “unclean” meant that one had to
publicly declare he was a sinner. So, as miserable a
state as leprosy was, worse still was the shame
of it. From here we understand better the sense of
desperation and urgency in the lepers’ petition: “Jesus, Master!
Have pity on us!” There is such thing as
spiritual leprosy too, but Jesus can heal the sickness
in our soul within confession. As Christians we should look
for this as ardently as the ten lepers looked
to be healed of their bodily leprosy.
2. The Lepers
Were Cleansed: Jesus felt obliged to perform the miracle
of curing these ten lepers; they truly believed he
could do it. That is why Jesus so hastily tells
them to go to the priest as prescribed by
the law and have their return to health officially recognized;
thus will end their banishment and disgrace. However, in
their burst of joy nine of the cured ten
forget to say “thank you.” At first it seems strange
to us that they would omit this, after being
transformed in one moment from utter misery to a
clean bill of health. However, we often do the same;
we forget to say thanks in the joy of
a moment when someone has really helped us or resolved
a major problem for us.
3. “Stand up and
go.” It did occur to one leper, a foreigner,
to come back and say “thank you”; it was the
Samaritan leper. In Jesus’ time Samaritans and Jews normally
despised each other, which probably makes his words of
thanks to Jesus all the more remarkable. However, what
really catches Jesus’ attention is the fact that only one
person comes back to express his words of gratitude.
Doesn’t this passage remind us of how rare is
the virtue of gratitude in the human heart? The cured
Samaritan’s faith has saved him, and it wouldn’t be
rash of us to think that he used especially
well the new gift of health the Lord had given
him. Those who are really grateful for what they
receive from God generally use more zealously and profitably
the gifts they are given.
Conversation with Christ: Lord
Jesus, I realize now how many things I might
take for granted in life. May this meditation really
be a renewal in looking for spiritual healing in you
and in using well all the talents and gifts
you have given me.
Resolution: I will make a
special effort to thank anyone who has assisted or
served me in any way today or just recently.