On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus was passing along the border between Samaria and Galilee, and as He entered a village, ten lepers came to meet him. Keeping their distance, they called to him, «Jesus, Master, have pity on us!». Then Jesus said to them, «Go and show yourselves to the priests». Now, as they went their way, they found they were cured.
One of them, as soon as he saw he was cleansed, turned back praising God in a loud voice, and throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave him thanks. This man was a Samaritan. «Was no one found to return and give praise to God but this alien?». And Jesus said to him, «Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you».
We need the humility to surrender before God and have the courage to say, ‘have pity on us.’ If we look deep into this story, we have the send aspect of the faith, listening and putting into practice all that the Lord says to us. They found themselves healed on the way. It is in accomplishing the world of God that we will realise how much the Lord is with us and accompanying us.
Jesus says, “Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you.” There are two messages in this statement. The first is the importance of Faith to be healed and saved. The second part is more important for those who have the faith, mission. He is sent as the true witness of divine healing. All of us are called to be such life witnessing disciple of Christ. For this, we should feel being called, healed, or purified and sent by the Lord.
The third and the most important part of this gospel is, they were send first and healed second. Let us start to announce the Good News in humility and obedience, and on the process, the Lord will heal us and purify us, strangely, we will discover it later.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Cleansing of the ten lepers, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"Why did [Jesus] not say, 'I will, be cleansed,' as he did in the case of another leper (Luke 5:13), instead of commanding them to show themselves to the priests? It was because the law gave directions to this effect to those who were delivered from leprosy (Leviticus 14:2). It commanded them to show themselves to the priests and to offer a sacrifice for their cleansing. He commanded them to go as being already healed so that they might bear witness to the priests, the rulers of the Jews and always envious of his glory. They testified that wonderfully and beyond their hope, they had been delivered from their misfortune by Christ's willing that they should be healed. He did not heal them first but sent them to the priests, because the priests knew the marks of leprosy and of its healing." (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILIES 113-16)
«Throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave him thanks»
Fr. Conrad J. MARTÍ i Martí OFM
(Valldoreix, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, Jesus passes by close to us so that we can actually relive the above mentioned passage in the shape of so many people relegated to an outer edge by our society, and who look at us Christians as their only possibility to find Jesus' love and goodness. In the days of the Lord, lepers were totally marginalized. In fact, those ten lepers met Jesus «as He entered a village» (Lk 17:12), as they were not allowed in the villages, nor could they get any close to people («keeping their distance, they called to him»).
With some imagination, each one of us can reproduce the image of those outcasts in our own society, who also have names and surnames, like we do: immigrants, drug addicts, wrongdoers, AIDS victims, unemployed, destitute... Jesus wants to heal them, to remedy their suffering, to solve their problems; and He expects our unselfish, free, efficient collaboration... for love.
We can also assume Jesus' lesson for us. For we are sinners and in need of forgiveness, we are beggars who depend totally on him. Would we be able to say like the leper «Jesus, Master, have pity on me!» (cf. Lk 17:13)? Do we know how to turn to Jesus with a profound and confident prayer?
Do we imitate the cleansed leper that goes back to Jesus thanking him out loud? In fact, only «one of them, as soon as he saw he was cleansed, turned back praising God in a loud voice» (Lk 17:15). Jesus finds the other nine missing: «Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?» (Lk 17:17). St. Augustine gave the following sentence: «‘Thanks God!’: nothing shorter can be said (...) or made more efficiently than with these words». Accordingly, how do we thank God for the great gift of our life, and that of our family; for the grace of the faith, the Holy Eucharist, the forgiveness of sins...? Is it not true that quite often we do not thank him for the Eucharist, even though we may be frequently participating of it? The Eucharist is, no doubt, our best daily experience.