On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean.
Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
When I pray with this passage, I notice the way Jesus emphasizes action: “go, show yourselves … stand up and go.” The lepers are cleansed while they’re in the act of “going.”
While we know we don’t earn our way to salvation, (Jesus has already done that for us), it seems that the lepers are expected to do something, even if it’s just being grateful. Jesus offers healing because they approach him in faith, calling him “master” and asking for what they need. “Your faith has saved you.”
But Jesus is disappointed in their lack of gratitude. Even a Samaritan – an outsider, a foreigner – has given thanks. The others didn’t bother. Do we Christians, the “insiders” who should know better, give Jesus the proper thanks for his cleansing, healing presence in our lives?
Do we live our lives as an active response to God’s continuous love for us?
—Rita Zyber is RCIA and Confirmation Coordinator at St. Mary Student Parish at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI.
I am constantly surprised at how I keep taking the gifts God has given me – my health, my intellectual and emotional gifts – and keep using them to impress people, receive affirmation and praise, and compete for rewards, instead of developing them for the glory of God.
—Henri Nouwen, from The Return of the Prodigal Son (Image Books, Doubleday, 1992)
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