Scripture: Lectionary 493. Wisdom 6:2-11. Psalm 82:3-4,6-7. Luke 17:11-19.
Our voices are a precious gift for conveying our thoughts, our love, our prayers. Today’s Gospel struck me as a Gospel that features voices: the voice of Jesus, the voice of the ten lepers, and especially the Samaritan’s voice who praised and thanked the Lord for his cure. In the background we may imagine the voices of the priests who legally clear the lepers for entrance into the Temple and the voices of the apostles and disciples who listen to what Jesus says even though they often do not understand all he says.
All ten lepers cried out, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us.” That is a Jesus prayer that many use or something very similar to it when they pray and contemplate the mysteries of God. Without touching them, Jesus sends them on toward Jerusalem to be scrutinized by the priests to approve their healing; they will be healed on the way. No longer do their voices call out “Tame! Tame! Unclean! Unclean! while ringing a bell to warn people they are approaching.
One of them, a Samaritan, who is despised by the Jews, comes back to praise and thank Jesus. His cure was deeply appreciated and he remembered to come back to the Master who healed him. It is a wonderful scene but also sad that the other nine never came back.
Throughout our passage voices are heard. First, the lepers, then Jesus, then the priests (I suppose), and probably the disciples said something in amazement though Luke does not include them. However, the Samaritan’s voice is clear and it expresses in prayer the thanksgiving given to the Healer, Jesus. This man knows how to pray and how to render thanks. He calls Jesus “Master.” This word is found only in Luke in the whole of the New Testament and he uses it seven times. It does emphasize the teaching of Jesus so the lepers may have heard and learned about Jesus the teacher who also could heal.
I imagine the questions that Jesus asks were heard by the disciples and those who were following him up to Jerusalem. The Samaritan is centered upon in both the statements Jesus makes and also the questions raised. He did what was right according to the command of Jesus and the legal requirements before the priests. Thus, he takes the initiative to return to Jesus and thank him again. He calls him this second time, Master ( Epistate). Jesus then closes the event with these great words, “ Stand up and go your way; your faith has been your salvation.” Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.