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« It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, to give you thanks always and everywhere »
To day we heard about ten lepers, companions in misery, who came to meet Jesus. Here they are, they stop at the distance that their impurity requires respect, and cry out to Jesus. They do not worship him, face against the ground, as we have seen others lepers doing it in the Gospel; they do not either hold long speeches explaining their years of misfortune. They simply call Jesus « master, » as do the disciples. They do not ask him anything other than pity, they want to be viewed by Jesus and pitied.
This attitude manifests a faith worthy of praise. They have confidence that they require nothing. They do not ask to be healed or purified. They want only be viewed by their Lord. Jesus hears their prayers. He poses no purifier gesture, he makes no prayer, he does not order the leprosy to leave them. He only invites these men to go and show themselves to the priests in the temple. Everything is said in the exchange of a look of confidence and faith. And these men were not disappointed. They were cleansed along the way.
One of them, seeing that he was healed, turned back glorifying God. He recognized the intervention of God and gives thanks. This man is was Samaritan, a stranger. Jesus is surprised that the son of promise failed to give glory to God and recognize his initiative, his burst into their lives. Only this stranger did. He showed great faith. It is faith that gives access to salvation. Thus healing that Jesus gives does not allow to obtain salvation if it does not lead to a authentic thanksgiving that opens and strengthens relationship with Jesus. Jesus heals us to enable us to be fully in touch with him, for it is this relationship that leprosy of our sin has broken, it is this relationship that Jesus came to restore.
Let us retain two great lessons for us:
1°) We can not, as is often the case nowadays, reject the mediation of the priest (weak men and sinners as anyone of us !) to have the assurance of God’s forgiveness, it is they who are chosen and sent to absolve and loosen.
2°) Gratitude to God is a sacred duty that we must never stop because we have all been « cured » and « saved » by Jesus- Christ, our Redeemer. We need to develop our ability to thank because when we thank, this means that we are generous; generosity is measured by the ability to thank. The one who thanks means that he feels loved, and if he feels loved, this means that has been loved and then becomes capable of loving. Do you realize that the Eucharist is called “prayer of thanksgiving”, all is a « thanksgiving » because you know that you are loved.