The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for the home
October 13th 2019 – 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Luke 17:11-19
When traveling from Galilee to Judea (north to south), one could travel through safe territory (generally recommended) or one could take the scenic route through mountainous Samaria. Most good Jews took the safer route. Especially because Samaritans were considered “fallen away” Jews. But Jesus occasionally preferred the unconventional. So on one occasion he took the more adventuresome way through Samaria. You can almost overhear the disciples grumbling. “I wished he’d go another way. That place gives me the creeps. You never know who or what you’re going to meet there.”
In Luke’s gospel Jesus actively sought out outsiders and outcasts. He had a reputation for seeking those whom others avoided. Samaria was filled with people that “good” Jews avoided. His apostles continued to murmur. “They don’t even have the right kind of priests here. Their worship is fraudulent. ” As usual, Jesus was leading them to think in new ways.
Now the story. They came upon some lepers. Back then leprosy was considered the number one contagious disease. Jesus walked straight into their midst. Horrors! Ten he approached and ten he healed. They were told to undergo the traditional ritual of cleansing. Later, one (just one!) returned. Lepers can’t run. Their sores are too painful. He ran right up to Jesus who embraced him. “Thank you, thank you, and thank you. A thousand times, thank you.” His tears darkened the dry dirt they stood on.
A smile spread across the weathered face of Jesus. “I welcome your gratitude. That’s what God truly wants. That’s what most of us want. Good for you. Good for me. Good for all of us.”
Gratitude is one of the most powerful of human responses. We all need reminders of this. So if you are a parent, thank your children. Maybe just for being yours. Be generous in giving thanks to all you meet. Being alive, being healed, redeemed and forgiven by God deserves our constant gratitude. So above all else, express gratitude, proclaim and celebrate Eucharistic (grateful) moments. Polite children learn to say “thank you.” Learn from them. Remember that this and the next moment of your life is a gift from God.
©David Thomas, PhD (firstname.lastname@example.org)