In Luke’s gospel today we hear the familiar story of the ten lepers who encountered Jesus on his journey to Jerusalem, traveling we are told through Samaria and Galilee. In faith they call out “Jesus Master” asking for mercy. Jesus takes time to converse with these strangers who have already been suffering the pain of isolation and the humiliation of having to call out “unclean” in public places, in order to guard the “elite” from contracting their contagious disease. But Jesus tests their faith further – “Go show yourselves…” and they immediately respond. “As they were going they were cleansed.”
One of those lepers notices his clear skin and returns “glorifying God in a loud voice and falls at the feet of Jesus and thanks him.”
We are told that the leper was from Samaria – a foreigner, not accepted in another land. I just wonder at the way we isolate people in our own lives. Why? Perhaps because of race, culture, creed or other differences. But we are all made in the image of God and Jesus has given his life for us that “we may all be one.”
Perhaps if we. like the Samaritan leper, would realize our daily blessings – “he’s blessing me right now” as the song says. “Every time I turn around he’s making a way for me. Over and over again he’s blessing me,” we would be praising and thanking the Giver of all good things, and spreading that Joy, Hope, and Unity. We would make a conscious effort not to cause the pain of isolation, to hear the cry for mercy of those who have been isolated, and like Jesus to reach out to them.
Therese Lenehan, O.P.