Luke 17: 11-19
It happened that as he made his way toward Jerusalem, he crossed over the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten men, all lepers, met him. They kept their distance but raised their voices, calling out, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"
Taking a good look at them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests."
They went, and while still on their way, became clean. One of them, when he realized that he was healed, turned around and came back, shouting his gratitude, glorifying God. He kneeled at Jesus' feet, so grateful. He couldn't thank him enough—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus said, "Were not ten healed? Where are the nine? Can none be found to come back and give glory to God except this outsider?"
Then he said to him, "Get up. On your way. Your faith has healed and saved you."
Is this a story about this importance of saying thank you? At a very early age, we encourage children to say thank you, we instil in them the importance of appreciation and sincere gratitude. I think it is, but much more beside.
Refugees are currently, very much in my prayers. Their horrendous circumstances, so much in the news at present, put me in mind of the lepers that we hear about in this Gospel passage. Lepers were compelled to leave their homes and communities; no one wanted them; they were treated as outcasts. Like refugees in our time, lepers through the ages will have evoked in others feelings of sympathy, pity, sorrow and very little action. Jesus, as usual, shows us by His example that practical compassion and mercy is what is needed. He didn't shout from a distance, He must have drawn near to them, for Luke tells us that He took a good look at them. As the ten lepers are walking away, imagine how they must have felt as wellness, good health and therefore social acceptance returned to them.
These ten outcasts received the same gift, the same healing, but it seems that only one, identified by Jesus as an outsider, was thankful enough to return to Jesus offering thanks and praise with more than a little exuberance. We have a lots to learn from our brothers and sisters, perhaps most from those we consider to be "outsiders".
Salesian Lay Chaplain
Help us to understand your awesome and merciful love more fully, so that we can grow in appreciation and sincere gratitude for all you give us.
In our broken world, where many suffer, move us to show your compassion and love to those in need. May we learn to love you and each other more and more.