On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 1And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
This passage gives us a lesson that we should never forget!
First of all, we can always praise the compassion of the Lord who, in His goodness, has mercy on those most in need. Leprosy forced those infected to live in total isolation from human society because of the risk of contagion. Add to this the fact that the disease was often seen as God’s punishment for sins committed, and the isolation suffered was perhaps even more painful. But Jesus is not concerned, and He turns to the lepers with love.
When we think of leprosy, we think of the leprosy that sin causes in a person’s soul. This leprosy is not so easy to cure because it leaves marks and scars that require a longer process of purification, liberation and healing. But here, too, the Lord does not leave us orphans; rather, together with the Father, He sends us the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 14:16) to complete this work. How much love Jesus shows us when He approaches the lepers of sin and offers them His forgiveness and healing!
Nine of the ten lepers forgot to give God the glory for the miraculous healing they had experienced. They were probably so happy and relieved that they stopped thinking about the Lord. So the miracle lacked something essential, something that brings it to its climax in the expression of thanksgiving. This becomes a constant lesson for us and demands that we examine ourselves…. Do we thank the Lord for the gifts we have received? He may have answered the prayers that were so important to us, but then we forget to thank and glorify Him properly. So something is missing in our relationship with God. In fact, it is gratitude that gives rise to an ever more tender love and strengthens trust.
Our human experience bears witness to this…. It is much easier to develop a loving relationship with grateful people than with those who ask but then forget their benefactor.
It is significant that the only one who showed the right attitude to such a great event was a foreigner, one of the Samaritans, who were often despised by the Jews.
If gratitude does not come naturally to us, if we often forget or find it difficult to give thanks, then we should begin a process of self-education and make it a rule to always give thanks. Better too much than not enough! Even if our heart is not yet wide awake, we will show with our will that we want to be grateful to God. He will accept our attempt! In time, we will become accustomed to giving thanks and will not forget it. In this way, our hearts will also become more receptive and, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we will more easily remember and be grateful for the benefits we have received from God.