While traveling through Samaria, Jesus is confronted by ten lepers. Their request is that he have pity on them. Leprosy was any type of skin disease which was most often insurable and considered to be the result of inherited sin. It rendered a person ritually impure, and separated and marginalized them from any normal activity of daily life. Begging became what they had to do to survive. They are seeking alms from Jesus and nothing more. Luke sees them as symbols of the human condition constantly in need of God’s mercy.
Jesus gives them nothing except asks them to go show themselves to the priests. This was the only way a leper could be officially declared cured and integrated back into the community. The mere fact that they followed Jesus’ command is an act of faith regardless of what they thought they outcome would be.
On the way they were cleansed… but they didn’t realize it. There we find the drama for the story. The realization of being cured isn’t only looking at the outside, but something deeper. One of the ten knows he is cured and returns to Jesus. He knows who healed him and that the power of God was at work in the cure. He no longer needs to continue on his way to the priests. He turns and goes to thank Jesus. This man was a hated Samaritan!
What happened to the other nine? Jesus seems truly disappointed doesn’t he? Should he be? The other nine just went their merry way. I’m sure they were happy to be cured of their leprosy, after all, they got their lives back. Isn’t this the case of the entire human race? We fly to God when we are in desperate need; when things go wonderful for us, we seem to forget the God who loves us, and is the source of all we have and are.
The bible tells us that we are only caretakers of what we have and are. That one day we are to give an accounting to God for the way we have cared for these gifts that God has blessed us with. How are we tending and caring for them now? How are we giving God thanks now? How are we returning to God a portion of our blessings of time, and talent now? How are we returning a portion of our treasure now? These are not easy questions, but they are a lot easier to be asked now, when there is time for a change!
Ever think of a January cruise in the Caribbean? Join Fr. Dennis departing Phoenix in January, 2017 ~ that’s coming up fast ~ for a 7-day cruise on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Plan ahead. This trip has space available at a low price, but once the departure date gets closer, the price will change… Pick up information in the parish office. See Fr. Dennis for more information.