The miracle of the ten lepers

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 5:14-17

Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy. Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant.” Elisha replied, “As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;” and despite Naaman's urging, he still refused. Naaman said: “If you will not accept, please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth, for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD.”

2 Timothy 2:8-13

Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us. If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

In this Sunday’s gospel reading, we hear the miracle that Jesus heals the ten lepers who approach him when he goes through the region between Samaria and Galilee. Jesus heals the ten lepers including a Samaritan, a sign that salvation is not just for the Chosen people. Jesus does not tell them that they will be made clean as in the healing of the leper at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (rf. Mk 1:41), instead, Jesus said to them “Go and show yourselves to the priests” and they are made clean on their way (Luke 17:14). When the Samaritan, the only one among the ten, returns to Jesus to praise God, Jesus asked “Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18) and then said to him “… your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19). In this miracle, Jesus teaches us faith and gratitude.

Let us hear more about faith and gratitude in Christian life from Pope Francis. In his General Audience on June 27, 2018, he said that Christian life is our expression of gratitude to our Father in heaven who loves us immensely and gives generously. It is our Father who loves us first and gives first, “First God saves his people in the Red Sea; then on Sinai, he tells them what they have to do”. If we reflect on our own situation, we will be reminded of the graces that God has given us. We must be grateful for the beautiful things he has done and is doing for me in my life. It is on this foundation of gratitude that we build our Christian life, a grateful heart is one “that has been visited by the Holy Spirit”, the Holy Father said. In our journey of faith, we must place this relationship of love with the Father before our Christian obligations and responsibilities. Then we will be able to “obey with joy to the One who has given us so much, infinitely more than we could ever give to him”.

What if I am still struggling to build a relationship of love with the Father; Pope Francis urges us to reflect on our relationship with our Father: am I still living a Christian life … What should I do? Citing from the Book of Exodus, he said “And the people of Israel groaned under their bondage, and cried out for help, and their cry under bondage came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God saw the people of Israel, and God knew their condition” (Ex 2:23-25). The Pope encouraged us to cry for help, “Lord save me; teach me the way; give me some joy”. This cry is a prayer; we are aware that there are certain things in us that we need to be freed from. When God hears us, he will help us break our chains to enable us to live joyfully in gratitude.

Let us offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all that he has done, is doing and will do for us, Amen.

Posted: October 13, 2019

Shiu Lan

Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.

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