GOSPEL COMMENTARY. THE TEN LEPERS (Lk 17:11–19).
The ten lepers
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 voice, 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.”
- “The Law of Moses laid down, to prevent the spread of the disease, that lepers should live away from other people and should let it be known that they were suffering from this disease (cf. Lev 13:45-46). This explains why they did not come right up to Jesus and his group, but instead begged his help by shouting from a distance (Commentary, Navarre Gospel of St. Luke).”
- What was Our Lord’s response? Jesus did not ignore the prayer of the lepers. He ordered them to go to the priests to have their cure certified (cf. Lev l4:2ff), and to perform the rites laid down.
- And the lepers obeyed, being obedience a sign of their faith in Jesus’ words. And, in fact, soon after setting out they are cleansed.
- However, only one returned to give thanks to Jesus. And He was a Samaritan! This led Jesus to “lament” on the lack of gratitude of the other nine lepers who were cured.
- Do we give him thanks many times during the day? Do we go to Him only when we need something? Are we like the other nine healed lepers, who after getting what they want, immediately forget about God?
- Let us strive to be grateful to God and thank Him many times during the day, but in order to do so, let us also ask for the virtue of humility as well. We need to be more humble, for humility leads one to acknowledge that all we have and all that we are comes from God. Pride, on the other hand, rejects any acknowledgement of the favors and gifts one has received, thinking that he is entitled and has merited all of them.
- Thank Him for everything, even those things or situations which men consider infortune (illness, problems etc), and like St. Paul, in the 2nd reading (2 Tm 2:8–13) may we learn to bear and offer all our sufferings in this life in union with Christ so as to “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.”
- Let us also live the virtue of gratitude not only to God but also to the people around us, for the good they do and the service they provide, even if we do not know them.
A great day ahead. Stay safe and God bless. Fr. Rolly Arjonillo
Topic: DO YOU ALWAYS GO BACK TO GOD TO THANK HIM?
In today’s gospel (Luke 17:11-19), only one of the ten lepers Jesus cures comes back to thank Him. And this leper was a Samaritan. Lepers, at that time – when medical cure was not yet found – were not allowed to come close to people. And these ten were composed of both Jews and a Samaritan. As a people, the Jews looked down on Samaritans as unclean. But because of this shared misfortune of being rejected by their respective peoples, these lepers found solace in one another until Jesus heals them. When they were cured, only one came back to thank Jesus. It was the Samaritan.
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