Study: When in my life have I been wounded, separated, or isolated? How did I experience healing and mercy?
Pray: Gratitude is a spiritual cure for many things. What blessings should I consider with gratitude in my prayer?
Serve: Is there someone in my life that I can connect with right now? Is there an opportunity for healing that I can foster through the gift of my life today?
The Gospel today offers a number of insights for us. The healing of the ten lepers shows the power and love of Jesus in several ways:
1. Jesus physically healed their leprosy
2. Jesus restored them to their relationships
3. Jesus’ message included foreigners
4. Jesus received gratitude from only one!
Leprosy was considered a terrible affliction in the ancient world. The name was used (sometimes inappropriately) for a variety of skin diseases, but it certainly did refer to the virulent condition where the skin was covered with festering sores that were beyond recovery.
Because of this condition, lepers would be banished from society. Cast off from family and friendship, they would be forced into a lonely isolation or consigned to a leper colony where their only interaction would be with other lepers. No family. No friends. No physical contact. They were completely and entirely cut off.
Begging for mercy from a distance, ten lepers come upon Jesus and are healed. This healing is not only physical; with renewed bodies they are now restored to their loved ones. They can go home! Their suffering and pain (both physical and emotional) is now transformed.
One of these lepers was a foreigner. He was not an Israelite; he did not know the Law, the Prophets, (indeed, he might not even have believed in God). Yet he was healed, too. The mercy, healing, and love of Jesus extended beyond the bounds of his own people – it included all people!
And it turns out that this same outsider, who knew nothing of the heritage of Israel, is the only one to say thank you. Now that he is healed he can approach Jesus directly, falling at his feet with gratitude. He has his life back, and his first thought is to acknowledge the giver of so great a gift.
Do we see ourselves in this Gospel today? Do we recognize our need for healing – to be restored in body or soul, to be renewed in our relationships with family or friends? Have we reached out beyond our imposed boundaries to people of a different race, creed, or color? Are we grateful for what we have been given, and do we thank the Lord for our blessings? We can learn a lot from the leper.