Sunday, October 9, 2016

Reflection: Luke 17:11-19

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Luke 17:11-19

Today Jesus continues his journey towards Jerusalem.  He traveled through Samaria, as well as Galilee.  When he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came toward him.  Naturally, they kept their distance, in order to safeguard him from their disease.  However, all ten of the lepers shouted out to Jesus: “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”  Immediately Jesus turned to them and said: “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”  

At these words, the lepers left to go to the temple.  However, as they were walking towards the temple,  the lepers realized that they were cleansed!  They had been healed of their leprosy. Can you imagine the wonder and joy they experienced as they began to comprehend the fact that they had been healed?  Imagine the riot of emotions they must have experienced.  What a great gift Jesus had given them!  The lepers likely had expected to be outcasts in society for the rest of their lives.

Sadly, only one of the lepers returned to Jesus to thank him for the great gift Jesus had bestowed upon him.  The leper knelt at the feet of Jesus and praised him.  Ironically, this man was a Samaritan.    Historically, there were irreconcilable differences between the Jews and the Samaritans.  Thus, the Jews typically regarded the Samaritans as the worst of the human race.  The Jews refused to have any dealings with the lepers.  However, when Jesus saw the Samaritan, he did not see a leper.  Rather Jesus recognized a fellow human being who was suffering and who was in need.

Today Jesus reminds us to have open minds and hearts to every individual we encounter.  We may not like every person we meet.  Or we may consider them an “outcast.”  However, Jesus today reminds us to “see” the individuals we encounter today with his loving eyes.  And if we choose to do this, we may also receive the gift of being seen by the loving eyes and heart of another person.  Who knows: the gift we give, may also be the gift we receive. The question is: Will we strive to have open eyes and an open heart to see every individual we encounter as Jesus did?  May it be so!

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