In the Gospel, as Jesus continues his journey to Jerusalem, he enters a village and is met by 10 lepers. They call out to him, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
Seeing them, Jesus says, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”
The law required that priests officially check cleansed lepers before allowing them back into the community.
There was no healing touch or word from Jesus, but the lepers believed in Jesus’ healing power. As they obediently went on their way to the priests, they found themselves miraculously cured of leprosy.
One of the men who had been healed, a Samaritan, returns and falls to his knees before Jesus and thanks him. Jesus says, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” The Samaritan’s return was a brave, bold move, considering the bitterness and violence between Samaritans and Jews.
Jesus’ response to the lepers, “Go show yourselves to the priests,” brings to mind the church’s call to cure us from the wounds of sin in the sacrament of reconciliation. Jesus has given priests the power to administer his saving, merciful forgiveness of our sins and to open our souls to his healing grace.
Pope Francis, in his Oct. 2 general audience, said, “God is always waiting for you.” God wants “a church that knows how to open its arms to welcome everyone. It is not the house of a few, but of everyone, a place where everyone can be renewed, transformed and made holy by his love. The church is the place where anyone can encounter Jesus, especially through the sacraments of reconciliation and the Eucharist. Don’t be afraid of holiness, of aiming high, of allowing yourself to be loved and purified by God.”