Body and Blood of Christ

Lectio

Drinking Well

 Pestering Hope

 

On his way to Jerusalem Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee.  As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’  When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’  Now as they were going away they were cleansed.

Finding himself cured, one of them came back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean?  The other nine, where are they?  It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’  And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way.  Your faith has saved you.’   


Luke 17:11-19



Lectio

Was there ever a time in your life when you felt like the ten lepers before they were cured? Their situation was desperate. They had a problem to which there seemed to be no solution - there was no known cure for leprosy at that time. Because the illness was considered to be highly contagious, lepers were isolated from their family and community. 

Their plight may remind you of a time when you felt hopeless and all alone. This may have been caused by failure in an exam, or by an emotional illness, a pregnancy outside of marriage, an addiction that came to light, a crime that brought you before the court, or dismissal from a job. Your prayer may have been like theirs: ‘Jesus, take pity on me!’

If you have come through such a crisis you may be able to look back now and see that your urgent prayer was answered. It may have been answered suddenly as the lepers’ prayer was, or it may have been answered over a lengthy period of time. The help or healing may have come to you directly from God or through good people who were there for you.

Missing out on their full cure
Why was it that nine out of the ten did not come back to say thanks?  Could this be the reason?  What they had been through was so painful and humiliating that they wanted to leave it all behind from the very moment they were cured.  They were well now; they must get on with their lives, as though they had never been ill: ‘Don’t mention the leprosy.’ This was indeed understandable, and yet the nine missed out on something precious that the tenth leper received.  His cure was complete in a way theirs was not.
    
By coming back to Jesus and throwing himself on the ground before him, he was acknowledging to everyone that his condition had indeed been desperate and that the miracle had been extraordinary.  He had nothing to hide and was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  Notice how the story ends: Jesus praised the Samaritan for giving thanks to God, and at the same time he gave the Samaritan credit for the miracle: ‘Your faith has saved you.’  He told him, ‘Stand up and go on your way.’ Jesus invited him to stand up confidently and to go back to his community with energy and enthusiasm.
   
We hear no more about this Samaritan.  We may assume that his experience of being a leper and his miraculous cure marked the rest of his life.  If he met people who were for any reason desperate and alone, he would understand their plight.  He would not look down on them because he would remember that he had been a leper. It is likely that he would help them in whatever way he could, remembering gratefully that he had been helped in his time of need.

As you look back on the difficult times you have been through, you may see that you too are grateful for the help you have received, and that you are sympathetic towards others in their troubles, because you know what it is like to be in trouble yourself.

                                                                                              

Brendan Clifford



Prayer: Psalm 29

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed  me. 
Sing praises to the LORD,
O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name. 
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
By your favor, O Lord,
you had established me as a strong  mountain;
you hid your face; I was dismayed. 
To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:…
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!" 
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever. 


 

 

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