Give Thanks to the Lord
Ten lepers stood off at a distance, as was customary for they were unclean, and called to Jesus as he entered a village, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” Those who were afflicted with leprosy were required to always stay at a distance. Their physical ailment caused them to be looked upon as ceremoniously unclean. If they came in contact, or even close to someone, that person would be considered ceremoniously unclean as well.
To be ostracized like this was a heavy and lonesome burden. In addition to their physical ailments, their lives were burdened with despair and depression. So, they called to Jesus with hope. What is interesting to note here is that they called to him by name and accompanied it with a title of honor, ‘Master’. The sick knew within their hearts who he was and what he could do. With compassion, Jesus responded to them and gave them instructions as to what they needed to do to be healed, ‘go and show yourselves to the priests.’ As they went on their way, they were healed.
This seemed like a simple act of obedience, but it was much more than that. The lepers were crossing societal and religious lines that would most certainly cause great angst with the priests. After all, the priests could not find themselves in an unclean state and still expect to lead the people.
Only one returned to Jesus to give thanks, the Samaritan. The other nine continued on their way. I am certain that they thought they were doing the right thing. They were doing what they were told. They, however, lacked the insight to realize, as the Samaritan did, that the source of their healing was not the act of going to the priests, but a gift from God in His mercy.
In our lives, how often do we think we are doing the right thing, but fail to realize that we are simply acting blindly, as did the nine, not understanding exactly what we are doing. We fail to understand the source of all understanding is the Lord. We fail to return to him, as did the one leper, and give thanks to Him.
As we are reminded in today’s Gospel reading and as we are given hope, all that we have, all that we do, is sourced from God. We may work and act to our benefit, but it is the Lord that has given us the gifts and talents to be successful. And for this, we must always return to the Lord to give thanks for the blessings in our lives and give God the glory.