TWENTY-EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Gospel: Luke 17: 11-19
When Naaman, the commander of king Aram, was asked to dip seven times in the river Jordan, he was furious. He expected the prophet Elisha to wave his hand and heal him instantly in the name of the Lord. River Jordan seemed too insignificant to him; dipping in Jordan river appeared silly for him. Yet he did it just because one of his slaves persuaded him to obey the instruction of the prophet. His argument was simple, ‘had the prophet asked him something more cumbersome he would have done it gladly.’ God and His messengers often demand far less than anticipated; often a very simple act of faith that appears silly. The miracle is not the result of your fulfilling certain strict conditions, but rather an act of Divine mercy in appreciation of your faith and trust in God.
The ten lepers that cried out to Jesus for his pity were not healed instantly, instead were asked to meet the priests who could declare them clean. With full faith in Jesus, they started their travel. It took a while for them to see the signs of healing in their bodies. The healing they received was in appreciation of their faith in Jesus. If it was dipping in the river Jordan for Naman, taking the road Jesus suggested was the expression of their faith.
There was a division among the ten lepers, the moment they recognized the healing. One of them parted the group to go back to Jesus. He wanted to prostrate before Jesus to express his gratitude and thank God. Unlike the rest of them, he felt it was a gratuitous gift from God Almighty, and acknowledging it before Jesus was the most important thing he must do. Jesus was expecting it. Gratitude expressed is the proper conclusion of every generous activity.
‘Thank you’ is an important phrase in daily life. We owe a lot to God and others. When we are not sensitive enough, or even worse, when we think they owe it to us, our lives are going to be less blessed. The leper that returned was rewarded with even more gifts. He had two commands from Jesus, ‘stand up’, and ‘go’.
Stand up boldly and with pride before society, because Jesus had touched him. Go to proclaim Jesus, because he is selected and ordained to preach Jesus. Finally, he got the most important gift from Jesus, salvation. Jesus told him, “Your faith has saved you.” Being healed is different from being saved. All ten were healed, but only the Samaritan leper was saved.
If Jesus touches and heals you today, it is not the end of it; he wants to save you. To be saved we all need to return to the feet of Jesus, like the only leper. It might mean separating from the majority as he did. Sometimes we need to dare to separate from the majority to stay at the feet of Jesus and be saved.