October 10, 2010: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. (Luke 17:11-14)
Leprosy was a dreaded disease in the time of Jesus; lepers were isolated from everyone and everything. People suffered greatly both physically and emotionally because of the disease. Today’s gospel tells us that Jesus cured ten lepers but in reading the rest of this story you will find out that only one of them returned to praise God, thank Jesus and follow his way of life. The cured leper was a Samaritan; Jews had no use for Samaritans. Jesus acknowledged both the gratitude and faith of the Samaritan, a foreigner, who recognized his cure by Jesus as the work of God. We need to always keep in mind that Jesus did not perform miracles to draw attention to himself, but to draw people to God who is compassion. Many came to believe in God because of Jesus’ words and actions.
As Christians, we believe in Jesus’ God, a God of love and compassion. We are also invited, as Jesus’ disciples, to extend love and compassion to others as Jesus did. Is there any better way to convince people that God exists?