Vol.6 No.5 DoM Gospel Reflection
28th Sunday Ordinary Time—9 October 2016
Luke’s gospel reading for this Sunday describes the continuing journey of Jesus to Jerusalem . In this section of Luke (9:51-19:27) – we learn of encounters where Jesus performs miracles and teaches lessons to his followers – in an attempt to prepare them for what is about to come. Jerusalem is described as the city of destiny, where Jesus’ suffering, death, resurrection and ascension, is to take place. Interestingly enough, this particular incident is only told in Luke’s gospel – unlike other gospel parables, including the gospel about the mustard seed from this past Sunday that Kara talked about last week.
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and he encounters the 10 lepers. In order to prevent the spread of the disease, the Law of Moses dictated that lepers should live at a distance from all others and should always alert others of their leprosy. The 10 lepers shouted to Jesus from afar – begging him to have pity on them.
Before they are cured, Jesus instructs them to “Go show yourselves to the priests”
As an aside – Leviticus 14:2-20 describes what the lepers were being told to do by Jesus. The law states that leprosy victims should be brought to the priests at the time of purification. The priest examines the leper – and over a period of several days the leper should gather 2 live, clean birds, cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop. There are specific rituals and sacrifices that one must follow with these items. The lepers then shave off all of their hair – including beards and eyebrows – then bathe in water before they are declared “clean” by the priests or even allowed back inside the camp. This process lasts for days and after additional sacrifices and bathing, the priest then performs the purification ceremony.
I’m relaying this to ya’ll so that you realize just how significant Jesus’ actions were to the 10 lepers. He hears them shouting to him and begging for pity – and he simply says to show yourselves to the priests. They were going on their way and suddenly, they realize that they have been HEALED. But – remember that the lepers would have known the process that should have been followed for them to be completely healed from their affliction. How could this have happened? They had not followed any of the procedures of the Laws set forth for curing leprosy.
But it gets even stranger . . .Only one of them – the foreigner – returned to thank Jesus. The gospel says ‘and one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
WOW! Only one of the 10 lepers who were instantly healed bothered to return to Jesus. They knew that a miracle had occurred – but only the Samaritan came back to Jesus. He is the only one to acknowledge Jesus’ gift. He chooses to show his gratitude for the healing – but in fact, has received far greater things than just his physical healing. His gratefulness is proof of his faith in Jesus.
Jesus says to the Samaritan – 10 were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God? Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.
In reading over this gospel – 3 of the words that stood out to me were glorifying, cleansed and thank.
The Greek definition of ‘glorifying’ – is to praise, extol, hold in honor; to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged
The Greek definition of ‘cleansed’, as referring to the leper, is to cleanse by curing, made free from defilement of sin and from faults, free from guilt of sin
The greek definition of ‘cleansed’: Made free from defilement of sin and from faults, free from guilt of sin To consecrate by cleansing
The Greek definition of to thank – is grateful, giving gratitude, profess or acknowledge blessing or gracious work.
And – interestingly , as we know already – The Greek word we use to describe “giving thanks” is the word which we translate as “Eucharist”
We can parallel our lives to this gospel by reflecting on our Faith journey – just as Jesus was on his journey to Jerusalem.
Just as the lepers hoped for healing, we too hope for curing, to be free from our sins and to be healed by our FAITH in Jesus.
-we experience a cleansing of our souls in the sacrament of Baptism;
-we are cleansed again in the sacrament of Penance and as we repent our sins, beg for his forgiveness and receive his mercy;
-and again, as we return to glorify God during the mass – as we give thanks in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
Faith can help us on our journey to salvation. Just as the lepers were directed to go to the priests for healing, we too go to be healed from our sins and our guilt. They were healed physically but we strive to be healed spiritually. This healing process is where God’s power is at work. He is showing his mercy towards us.
We are taught at an early age to ‘mind our manners’ and to say Thank You was certainly on the top of that list. But for this one man who was cured in the gospel, his thanksgiving is similar to a childish spirit. He returned to glorify and thank Jesus for his healing. It was pleasing to Jesus.
“Healing is part of ,but not synonymous with, being saved. Gratitude is a necessary ingredient that perfects the process of salvation, realized by abiding with Christ and every other soul who has been afforded reason to give thanks, to make sacrifice. Jesus is the source of salvation for which we give thanks most perfectly in the celebration of Eucharist, the thanksgiving sacrifice in which Christ’s death on the cross delivers us from the affliction of sin and confirms us in the communion he shares with the Father in the Spirit. Gratitude is not reserved until all has been made perfectly whole. It continues . . .Christ’s will is that we become a perfect sacrifice in ourselves. Jesus himself is the means by which we offer thanks. He is the God in whom thanksgiving and faithfulness are met.” (Quoted from aldkjf;)
We are one with Christ as we continue along our journey – or on our paths to salvation. We need to lift our hearts to God and praise him often. Our gratitude is acknowledged often by God in our many blessings. We need to Look Around . . take note of our many blessings . .and give thanks. We, as Daughters of Mary, need to keep our hearts firmly fixed on our journey’s end.
We know that God gives generously – but He also gives without expecting anything in return. Do we become bitter or hard when others don’t show appreciation to US for our sacrifices or efforts towards them?
And while God helps many – we need to remember to return to him , just as the Samaritan did, to show our gratitude. Even though the others did NOT return to show their gratitude – this fact didn’t change Jesus’ attitude after healing the lepers and it doesn’t change God’s willingness to heal and cleanse us.
This realization should remind each of us to take the time to notice all that God and others do for us in our lives. At times, it takes humility to be thankful.
Our continued appreciation for ALL that God has done for us draws us closer to God and thereby strengthens our faith.
We pray to persevere on our faith journey by being continually cleansed and giving gratitude and glory to God, so we might live with Him in eternal glory.
Praying to St. Luke, published by Magnificat
The Catechism of the Catholic Church,
My Study Bible