Thursday, October 10, 2013

28th SUNDAY YEAR C, Thoughts on Luke 17:11–19

Luke 17:11–19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering 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.”

I suppose that unless one has lived among modern day lepers one has no real grasp of the damage this disease can do. I know it eats away at the body. I know it can attack the brain too. We also lack the absolute horror of leprosy that the Jews and many other ancient peoples had (right up until end of the Middle Ages in Europe). It was a living death. The leper was excluded from all society. He lived on the edges of society, the lowest and most despised. He was everybody's walking nightmare. For the Jews it was the physical equivalent of sin. The leper like the public sinner and idolator was 'unclean'.

Jesus cleanses these ten men and sends them to the Temple priests for verification of their healing and for fulfilment of the Law through thank offerings. Interesting that there is a Samaritan among them as if it took this awful disease to bring these two enemies togther. All are cleansed but it is the Samaritan who returns in gratitude and he gets the greater gift: salvation. Jesus has demonstrated His power both to heal the incurable and therefore also save the unsaveable.

We are those who have been cleansed of the leprosy of sin. Christ has blessed us but where is our gratitude? Where do we glorify Him if at all? Who are the lepers around us that we need to reach out to with Christ's healing truth?

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