Blog # 285 Ten Lepers
The Gospel reading at Mass on Wednesday of this week was from Luke 17: 11 - 19. Jesus and some of his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem where he, the Eternal Word , Emmanuel, God-Among-Us, will experience the greatest human love of his entire life on earth in his unconditional total obedient love for the Father on Calvary. As he entered a village ten lepers shouted out a spirited appeal. "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!." Jesus directed them to go to show themselves to the priests. On their way all ten of them were healed. One of them returned to praise and thank Jesus for what he had done. " Were not all made whole? Where are the other nine?"
The Gospel narrative does not even hint that any of the lepers were evil men. None of them are identified as thieves or robbers, adulterers or any other specific type of sinner. Yet Jesus is disappointed in the failure of nine of the lepers to come back to him because in this they missed out on the greater and most important part of the gift that was offered them. We can easily imagine how happy they must have been in their new life and reunion with their families in perfect health.
This was the physical, temporary part of the total gift that had been offered them. I imagine this must have been all they were aware of , desired, shouted after, or received. The part they missed was a personal unique relationship of praise and thanks with the healer, signified and proclaimed by the one leper who returned to Jesus and fell to his knees before Him. No less humanly happy and blessed than the nine, this man tasted a spiritual joy that told him he was loved as well as healed. He received the total gift.
These thoughts led me to come up with another question: "Where is the one?" If the problem we see for the nine lepers began and perhaps was constituted by unawareness
of a personal relationship with the healer, it follows that we don't need to be a leper to be among the nine. Physical health maintained as well as regained is a gift. All of creation is a gift. God is the sole designer author creator owner and giver of illness as well as of healing. The only thing that should not exist and does not have a right to exist is sin. Faith is our guide in our awareness of this and love is the measure of our response.
To personally verify, experience, and respond to God' presence and love is the core of our Christian life. We should be forming and safeguarding a conscious habit of being aware of what we believe and responding to our faith in a personal relationship of love with our Creator. This is the element that seems to have been missing in the experience of the nine lepers.
As in a factory that manufactures no matter what, there is need for quality control, so in our Christian journey to our 'Jerusalem' and our 'Calvary' there is need for check-ups and check points to guarantee we are aware of the danger of unawareness and the blessing of growth in our faith and love. Examples of this would be in our seeing and experiencing the ever-present sun moon and stars as personal gifts from our Creator, the gift of being able to walk, in itself, but also for the gift of a reason and someplace to go, the gift of colors shapes and sounds expanded in their ability to paint or appreciate beauty, use a ruler, cook a meal, or sing a song and not to stop there but rejoice in the wonder of the gift of being consciousjy aware of standing walking sitting kneeling existing in our personal relationship with God in union with Jesus, God's belovd Son.