Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (October 13, 2019)
The healing of the ten lepers is unique to Luke’s Gospel.
Lepers were outcasts of society because of their disease. These ten must have heard about Jesus because they risk approaching him asking for a cure. Jesus tells them to go and show themselves to the priests so they could be certified as healthy. Then they could return to their families and friends. We’re told that on the way they were cured.
Imagine how happy they must have been. They were outcasts no longer. Only one of them goes back to Jesus to thank him. Jesus’ words are filled with sadness: “Were not all ten made whole? Where are the other nine?” But he turns his attention to the one who has returned to give thanks. He reminds him that faith has been his salvation. “Go your way” and nourish your new found gift of faith.
Many times we can be like the lepers in the Gospel. We ask for healing or strength or grace. Often we’re very aware that God has given us what we need at the time. Luke is asking us: what do you do when you have received your gift? Are you thankful? Do you nourish your new found gift? Or do you keep returning and asking, never taking the time to be thankful?
Often our thankfulness is shown by the way we nourish the gifts we have already received. We can nourish our gifts through faithful prayer, through Scripture reading, through accepting patiently all that God sends us each day. We can also nourish our gifts by reaching out to others who are suffering and offering them the comfort of our presence and care.
It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t take back the healing he had given to the other nine. God’s faithfulness doesn’t change. St. Paul’s hymn in today’s second reading reminds us of this truth: “If we have died with Jesus, we shall also live with him; if we hold out to the end, we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him, he will deny us; if we are unfaithful, we will still remain faithful, for he cannot deny himself.”
Let us be thankful; our God is always faithful in caring for us.