New Testament Eucharistic Readings for Sunday of Proper 23: Year C
2nd Timothy 2:8 to15 and Luke 17:11 to 19:
“Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”” (Luke 17: 19)
This is an amazing healing story. But it is also an amazing salvation story.
We have lepers calling out while maintaining their distance so as not to contaminate others. This was the requirement in those days regarding self-regulating leper communities. But these sick people are well aware of who Jesus is. As they see him they call out from a distance, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
It seems leprosy does not discriminate. Like other human ills, Cancer, Ebola, HIV and AIDS, and COVID; leprosy is an equal opportunity inflictor. We don’t know how many of the ten were Samaritans but we do know that at least one was. Jesus makes sure we know that, while that which destroys persons, does not discriminate; neither does the salvation of God discriminate. All are welcome into the Salvation of God.
Salvation is different from healing. According to Fred B. Craddock, writing for “Interpretation: A Bible Commentary”: Luke, he says, “We have, then, a story of ten being healed and one being saved.” If I had a choice and could only pick one, healing of an earthly illness, or, being saved into eternal life, I would not consider it a choice at all. Give me that eternal salvation please.
The Samaritan went back to Jesus out of gratitude for an earthly cure. He got more than he bargained for. He got salvation. He showed gratitude. He showed thanksgiving. His gratitude meant a lot to Jesus.
Prayers should be like the top and bottom pieces of bread of a sandwich. That is, we pray for something like safety during an approaching storm. We come out on the other side intact. We should then go back to prayer in thanksgiving to God for answering our prayer requests. To not do so makes us one of the nine that Jesus asks about; “Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?” The sandwich metaphor works as it has us to remember and be thankful for what God has done for us. This is an attitude of gratitude. Let us not just forget God when all is safe again. Let us not take God for granted. We need to be just as earnest in our giving thanks as we were in our asking for help.
I pray that Ukraine is also thankful on the other side of their horrors.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John