Gospel Luke 17:11-19
“Jesus! Master! Take pity on us!”
There is much to consider in the story before us.
The lepers approach Jesus in desperation. “Jesus!”, they cry, “Master! Take pity on us!”
Their encounter with Him is authentic – they seek him out in their need and he answers their request. Interestingly, we are told that, of all those who are healed, only one, a foreigner, comes to give thanks at the miracle they had experienced.
I’d like to think that I would be like the returning leper, who at least thought to return thanks for the gift he’d been given, and yet I must pause to wonder… In the mundane drudgery of our daily lives, we can so often take for granted much of what we’ve been so generously given.
Rather than gratefully acknowledge all that I have as the gift that it is, we often succumb to the temptation to either be overwhelmed with prideful arrogance at our status, our wealth, our health etc.; or, think that it is up to us to take what we want, forcefully if need be – to be a self-made man or woman.
The lepers can symbolise us, we who are thrown into this world, not at our own request – our very being is given to us, (and even then, through our inheriting of original sin, we are still in great need).
9 out of 10 of us are forgetful of the abject need in which we find ourselves and from which we are rescued, but the one who returns to give thanks is for us a wonderful example – and yet, perhaps there is more still to this story.
Jesus tells him to ‘Stand up and go on your way.’ He sends him out, and reminds him of his faith.
The posture of gracious receptivity empowers one to go out and to act – to bring mercy and love to others. In this sense, it is only once we have received that we can go out and give. One cannot give what they first have not received. In order to be apostles of love and mercy, we must first be open to receive the same.
Point to Ponder
‘Man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.’ Gaudium et Spes, 24