The Gospel is a reflection of life. Very few people return to say, “Thank you.” Gratitude is not popular. Feeling like we deserve what we have is in style. The mentality of entitlement dominates our world.
Ten lepers were healed. Big deal. Jesus healed people every day. However, lepers were untouchable. They had no rights. Lepers were considered sinners because of their condition. Normal folks would have nothing to do with them since the disease was contagious. Lepers were ostracized from their family, their community, even the synagogue. They could only relate to each other. The Law required them to ware bells to warn people. Their clothes were bloody, and the stench of their rotting flesh kept everyone away. They saw their chance one day when Jesus was within shouting range. Therefore, from a distance they shouted. No doubt that they had heard of His reputation, His power to heal, His willingness to approach sinners. We can picture the scene, they probably shouted in unison, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” The Lord asked no questions. He just gave them a directive, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” The priests had the authority to declare someone clean or unclean. Their word was the law. Only the priests could release them from the scandal of leprosy. Interestingly, the lepers were not healed instantly, but on the way. Just as Jesus asked no questions of them, they did not question Him. On the way—while walking together—on the journey of hope they were healed. Great things happen when we trust in the direction that God gives us. Unlike the lepers we sometimes question, we doubt, or we are slow to respond.
We like the assurance of google maps to get us exactly where we want to go. Most of us would rather not take risks. Instant results are better than having to wait. The lepers had no guarantees, no promises, only a directive. Their obedience resulted in a miracle. Consider the directives that we have received from God. Have we followed what God wants? Or have we chosen not to act? Fear glues our feet to the floor. Fear of the unknown stifles our growth. We cannot respond to God when our heart is full of fear—we cannot even hear God. “Raise the shields, buy more guns, get more security.” If someone posts that toilet paper is going to run out, the shelves get emptied. Takes very little effort to get everyone in a panic. Consider that most of the time we are running “away from” rather than running “toward”.
The lepers went as rapidly as they could to find the priests, especially when they realized that they were healed. How fast are we to share good news with others? Are we not more motivated to share bad news? Bad news is juicy. Negative gossip is interesting. Think about what would have happened if the lepers would not have been healed. They would have talked—if anyone would have listened. Anger would have filled the air. But something wonderful did happen to them. Healing changed their life. Yet, they ignored the most fundamental response—gratitude. When things go our way, we often forget to give thanks. But when we are hurting, boy, do we let God hear our complaint! The lepers had much to celebrate. Yet only one came to make Jesus part of the celebration. Only one returned to say, “Thank you.” Jesus simply asked a question, “Where are the other nine?” No doubt that they were with their families, friends, neighbors—celebrating. Jesus did not remove the healing. On the contrary, The Lord complimented the one who returned to give thanks. He complimented his faith. Takes faith to realize that all blessings come from God and that everything is a gift, especially our health. The most popular prayer is the prayer of petition. The least popular prayer is the prayer of thanksgiving. Eucharist means thanksgiving. The most perfect way to give thanks is the Eucharist.
We are privileged to be here. As we see the Lord, we cry out, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us.”