Wednesday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time
November 11, 2020
Memorial Feast: Saint Martin of Tours (316-+397) Patron Saint against Poverty and Alcoholism
Letter of Saint Paul to Titus 3:1-7; Psalm 23:1-6; Luke 17:11-19
The narrative of Saint Luke’s Gospel reveals some very telling words about Jesus and the cleansing of the ten lepers. The healings take place during the course of our Lord’s journey through Samaria and, ultimately, Jerusalem. The ten lepers stood at a distance from Him and begged, “Have pity on us!” Jesus’ response was a verbal command, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” While on their way, they were cleansed. Only one of the ten, the Samaritan, realizing he had been healed, returned glorifying God. Jesus responded to this action with, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?”
Was Jesus disheartened that the other nine had not returned to give thanks and glorify Him? Is this only a lesson in showing gratitude and appreciation? Are there additional messages here? In order to answer these questions, I suggest we do the math.
The lepers asked Jesus for pity. Who generally asks for pity? The marginalized, the outcasts, those who see themselves as dirty and unlovable, and those who feel shame not just about what they have done—but who they are. Jesus, in His bountiful mercy, cleansed the lepers of their horrible disease. He sent them to show themselves to the priests in order to demonstrate their healing and worthiness. Yet, only one of the cleansed returned to give thanks and praise. Why didn’t the other nine do the same?
Pity and mercy, sin and healing, invitation and rejection, offering and accepting, and forgiveness are primary themes throughout today’s Gospel. Over and over, we are reminded of the bountiful compassionate love and mercy of God demonstrated by Jesus. Beyond the mercy, there is the invitation and desire (and this is important) that the healed return and abide with God. Healing is an ongoing process, which continues throughout our life's journey. Jesus Himself journeyed through life experiencing tragedies. The depth of shame and remorse, as well as addictive behavior, can make it very difficult to accept forgiveness in order to return to give thanks and praise. Our own sense of shame or guilt tends to keep us at a distance from God. We may see ourselves as walking lepers, while God sees us as His greatest Work of unconditional love.
Question of the Day: What are the distractions that prevent you from responding to God’s bountiful love, mercy and forgiveness?
Prayer: Father, let me always walk before You in holiness and gratitude for all of Your blessings. Then I will truly deserve Your love and Your help. Amen