On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed.
Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan.
This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’
Hearing the Gospel yesterday – the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – one of the things that really struck home was the sheer numbers of the lepers! Excluded, sick, and perhaps not even with the benefit of unity in affliction, these ten, encountered on the border-lands, were beyond the pale.
In their misery they cry out. And Jesus hears, and Jesus heals.
And then of the ten, only one returns to thank Jesus – and that one a Samaritan, be-nighted by a deffective faith according to Israel. But Jesus attributes the healing not to his own power as a healer but to this man’s faith.
Ten were healed of leprosy, but only one – by his faith – cooperated with the power and healing love of Jesus, achieving by this cooperation, the deeper healing of his very person.
Faith is not about passive reception. That is not how God made us to be. God made us for response and communion, and that communion involves our participation too.
- What grace of God do you want to/have you consciously responded to today?
Peacock – symbol of eternal life. Church of Jacob’s Well, Nablus. (former Samaria). (c) 2012, Allen Morris.