The cleans­ing of ten lep­ers

Manila Bulletin - - Views • Features - LUKE 17:11-19

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.”

RE­FLEC­TION RE­TURNED TO GIVE THANKS TO GOD. Grat­i­tude, they say, is the mem­ory of the heart. In­deed, at the heart of grat­i­tude is re­mem­ber­ing or not for­get­ting.

In the para­ble, the nine lep­ers may have been too “over­whelmed” with joy at their hav­ing been cleansed that they for­get to thank Je­sus. But grat­i­tude has so over­whelmed the heart of the Sa­mar­i­tan that, while he may have over­looked show­ing him­self to the priests (per­haps as a Sa­mar­i­tan he is not bur­dened by Jewish rit­ual pre­scrip­tions), he re­turns and gives thanks. Thus, the nine Jews prove them­selves obe­di­ent to Je­sus’ words, but the Sa­mar­i­tan sees grat­i­tude as his pri­mary re­sponse to what God, in Je­sus, has done for him.

We may be over­taken by our con­cern to “of­fer” God some­thing in re­turn for the bless­ings we re­ceive, but God is more pleased with a grate­ful heart than with any of­fer­ing.

Al­though you have no need of our praise, yet our thanks­giv­ing is it­self your gift, since our praises add noth­ing to your great­ness but profit us for sal­va­tion” (Com­mon Pref­ace IV).

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