As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy 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.” LK 17: 11-19
I once attempted to do an activity where I reflected on where I saw evidence of God in my childhood, my adolescence and my adulthood. Having had a difficult childhood this exercise proved to be too much….very much like reading the ordinary time, end of days reading for today! I did not want to go back because there were many wounds and a lot of unreconciled pain. I called my sister for confirmation that it as a bad as I imagined it! I needed proof for the pit in my stomach, the tears on my face and more importantly so I did not have continue this activity any further.
Now here I am fully knowing how faithful the Lord is (or so I think), and I reach out in want of desperation! My sister listened and then reminded me, it was not always bad. “There weren’t numerous, but there were moments,” and she listed things that tore my heart in a better way, going to the park, learning to read time, and watching movies…these cherish small moments with our father and our aunt.
My sister is a non-believer. When we talk about God we do not always end up in a good place. There is judgement on both ends. In that moment, God knew I needed my sister to pull me back. Moreover, as she recalled these moments, I thought she does not know God but she sure is grateful…and I who practice my faith; I needed this refresher, to look back and give the lord thanks.
The gospel reading for thanksgiving took me away. I am one of those lepers, who asked for healing, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us” me! I received healing but I did not return to give thanks and praise… I was not grateful because I did not realize that I had been healed. I wanted to stay wounded, and go straight to despair. “As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned.”
We have an opportunity today and every day to wake up and be thankful, thank HIM who heals and saves us! We should not forget, but we do, to hold on to the evidence of his faithfulness, the wounds that he heals, the steadfastness of his promises. God has never let us down, so every day ( it’s a reminder for me), I will say thank you Lord, not just for this day on earth (I have to grow this prayer) but for everything you have done for me, for the people in my life, for allowing me to know you.
How much does the Lord care for those of us who are close to him? How much does the Lord care for those who we think are not close to him? How much does Lord care for those who glorify his name, live as children of the resurrection and give HIM thanks, for things received and things not yet received? “He who brings thanksgiving as his sacrifice honors me.” (Psalm 50:23) It was a stranger, not one of the chosen people of Israel, who returned to thank God!
Take these words in, “Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” None but this foreigner. “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 22:21). In my judgement of my sister, I did not think that she could help me or be instrumental in my spiritual growth! I was hoping she help me go to despair. And here is the lord reminding me again, you too were far away from me and I used everything and everyone to bring you back.
Lord, thank you, for my sister (put whomever you need in here). For her compassion and her love. Thank you for giving me a friend in her and many friends to bring me closer to you. Lord remind me you are in her, as you are in me, and remove thoughts of judgement, I too was a stranger to you Lord. Help us have healthy discussions to grow spiritually. Lord use me; speak to her through me, just as you have spoken to me through her! May we continue to encourage one another to serve our neighbor! Lord allow us to, move closer to you, wherever on the path we are.
Help us all (especially those whom I dare to judge) to realize lord, we have been healed, we are healing, we will be healed.
For this and for all your blessings we praise you our God! For your goodness and your mercy!
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
James Tissot (French, 1836-1902). Healing of the Lepers at Capernaum (Guérison des lépreux à Capernaum), 1886-1894. Brooklyn Museum, Purchased by public subscription, 00.159.89 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 00.159.89_PS1.jpg)