Brian’s Reflection: Sunday, October 10, 2010
…. ten lepers approached him ….. they called out, saying, "Jesus, Master,
have mercy on us!" ….. they were made clean. Then [a Samaritan, the only
one of ten] …. prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him ….. Then
Jesus ….. said to him, "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."
Luke 17 (from the Gospel for Sunday, October 10, 2010)
It is very unclear whether this is being reported as an event in the Story of The Christ, or as a parable Jesus told. It feels, to me anyway, like the latter. The four “canonical” Gospels often report things differently.
Clearly, we are meant to focus on the issue of the connection that is implied between wholeness, faith/trust, and thanksgiving. Nine of the lepers were cured, but only one was thankful … or at least only one expressed his thankfulness.
I think I understand the point Jesus is making. It’s about what “wholeness”, healing, actually IS. We all go through – and believe me I know! – getting better from human illness, of all sorts, physical, mental, emotional, etc., even many life-threatening illnesses as I have, by the grace of human knowledge and medical skill. But Jesus is always interested in full Wholeness - in people becoming fully Human as the Gospel understands that Wholeness.
The nine others lepers were cured of their leprosy; off they went to the priests to get “certified” as cured, get accepted back into society, and presumably go on with their lives. But one, a Samaritan, a “foreigner” (in order to emphasize the point that so many of us think we “deserve” blessings) comes back thankful. So, nine went off and, though cured, didn’t grow in Humanity, as Jesus always desires. One did grow.
Faith is trust (Latin: “fidere”, to trust; “fides”, fidelity) that, if we seek to grow and deepen in the Humanity which is offered by God through The Christ and through many other ways, we will do so!
And Thankfulness for the mysterious blessings of Life will be a sure sign that we have become more Whole, and know that we have been blessed by that great Mystery called “God”.
Maybe (as I have experienced) we don’t get physically cured; but we are thankful for the Life we have been given to live, in whatever state. That is a character of the Life of Faith. As I was once quoted as saying: “The Life of faith is a Life of endless horizons”.
How have you grown in Wholeness? This is what God is interested in.