Today’s Gospel is important for our parish. Ten lepers are healed. Leprosy kills the nerves and causes the flesh to die or rot. The lepers come to Jesus and they have to remain at a distance and cry out to Him in hope. They ask for mercy, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” Their sickness prevents them from approaching Jesus, but it is by the power of Jesus’ word in conjunction with their faith that they are healed. The first reading also speaks of a leper who is healed; this time it is through the prophet Elisha and being washed seven times in the River Jordan. The second reading explains, “if we have died with him we shall also live with him.”
All three passages evoke a fundamental truth: we carry death within us and we are looking to be healed. If we are to find this healing, we have to:
1. Believe or trust in God: It is God alone who can heal our hearts. We all too often look to human techniques or ways that we can be fixed. Instead, we must begin by trusting completely in Him. Note that Jesus looked at the lepers. He also looks at you. God’s actions are always personal. He only asks that you trust Him completely.
2. Put His commands into action: If you trust, then you will do what He commands you to do. Obedience is trust or faith put into action. An obedient heart is absolutely necessary for healing. Note that in the Gospel, the lepers are not healed until they start walking towards the priests. They had to commit to being obedient.
3. Return to give Him thanks: Only a thankful heart can really be filled with joy. We can only really give thanks if we can see that the Lord has done great things for us. When we realise all that He has done it is only right to give thanks.
Moving from faith to obedience and obedience to thanks, this passage shows key steps in our spiritual growth. Perhaps this week one way we can be healed is through the grace of confession, and when walking out of the confessional may our hearts rejoice and give thanks, for the Lord has done great things for us.
Fr. Michael Thérèse