(Photo illustration by Phil Younk)
Click on the photo for a printable PDF!
Based on the Gospel of Luke 17:11-19
Ten cries for help. Ten cures. One thank you. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus continues his journey to Jerusalem, walking near a small village. As he enters the village, 10 lepers call out to Jesus. They are standing far away because they have a terrible contagious sickness called leprosy that causes sores deep enough to damage bones, a loss of feeling in the infected body parts, some paralysis and some body parts to rot away. Because it is contagious, lepers are banished from their families and towns and forced to live apart from healthy relatives and townspeople. They are lonely and unhappy because people are frightened by their appearance.
The lepers cry out, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” When Jesus tells them to show themselves to the priests (The law required that cleansed lepers be officially checked by priests before being allowed back into the community.), the lepers go on their way. There was no actual 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 cured lepers, a Samaritan, runs his hand over his face and arms and feels the smoothness of his skin. The sores are really gone. He goes back to find Jesus. Falling on his knees before Jesus, he publicly praises God and thanks Jesus for his kindness. Jesus says, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
Jesus was pleased with the man who remembered to say “thank you” but was disappointed with the other nine who did not.
This Sunday’s Gospel shows us how much Jesus loves and cares for all people.
It also reminds us to say thanks to God for all his gifts – parents and family, our health, all people who help us to learn and grow and for God’s greatest gift to us, Jesus. The Mass is called “Eucharist” and “Eucharist” means thanksgiving. When we are at Mass we are proclaiming what Jesus did for us by his life, death and resurrection.
Every day Jesus shows his love for us in many different ways. Something as simple as: a hug from Dad or Mom; a smile from an elderly neighbor for raking the lawn; the kindness of the crossing guard as you walk to school; the love of grandparents and other relatives; good help in times of sickness; the gift of sight as we watch a squirrel scampering across the lawn with a chestnut; the autumn breeze and changing colors of the trees.
Every day we should take time to see Jesus and his love in the world around us. We should celebrate with an attitude of gratitude and say, “Thank you, Jesus.”