Sunday of the twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time of the year C

Posté par diaconos le 7 octobre 2022

 Sunday of the twenty-eighth week in Ordinary Time of the year C dans Catéchèse 80fc4ad4e23a8266f3b103f8c4cd2940

The healing of the ten lepers is one of the miracles of Jesus Christ reported in the Gospel of Luke. This miracle underlines the importance of gratitude, and also of faith, for Jesus did not say :  « My power has healed you » but attributed the healing to the faith of the supplicants. For Father Joseph-Marie, these ten lepers represent the whole of humanity, caught up in sin, and in relation to God forgotten. However, the lepers still know how to pray, and Jesus, because they show him that they want to follow his word, heals them.

Yet only one leper fully believes in Christ. Hope and faith, two of the most important virtues for the Church, are highlighted in this miracle as in many others. St Bruno of Segni confirmed that these ten lepers represented humanity. This miracle reflects the mercy of God. The leper who came to see Christ again is the image of the baptised. For the saint, faith is essential : « It is therefore faith that saves, faith that justifies, faith that heals man in his soul and body ».

For Benedict XVI, there are indeed two levels of healing in this miracle: that of the body and that of the soul. The leprosy of humanity is pride and selfishness, which create violence and hatred. God, who is Love, is the remedy for these wounds. And the Holy Father, in the image of Christ, says : « Repent and believe in the Gospel » (Mk 1, 15). On the other hand, it is important to note the nationality of the one who truly believes and goes to give thanks to the Lord: he is a Samaritan, not a Jew, for let us not forget to underline that Christ himself said to the Samaritan woman that salvation comes from the Jews. If the true believer is not a Jew, this implies the universality of faith and salvation in Jesus, who did not come as the Messiah of the Jews but as the Saviour of the whole world.

« Leprosy (or Hansen’s disease) is a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, a bacterium close to the agent responsible for tuberculosis, identified by the Norwegian Gerhard Armauer Hansen in 1873. 

It affects the peripheral nerves, skin and mucous membranes, causing severe disability. It is endemic in some tropical countries (especially in Asia). Leprosy is not a very contagious disease. For a long time, leprosy was incurable and very mutilating, leading in 1909, at the request of the Society of Exotic Pathology, to the « systematic exclusion of lepers » and their regrouping in leprosy clinics as an essential measure of prophylaxis. The disease is now treatable with antibiotics ; public health efforts are being made to treat the sick, provide prostheses for those who have recovered, and to prevent the disease.

From the Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Luke

At that time Jesus was walking through the region between Samaria and Galilee on his way to Jerusalem. As he entered a village, ten lepers came to meet him. They stopped at a distance and cried out to him : « Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. »  When Jesus saw them, he said :  « Go and show yourselves to the priests. » On the way, they were cleansed. One of them, seeing that he was healed, went back, glorifying God with a loud voice. He fell face down at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus spoke up and said :  « Haven’t all ten been cleansed? Where are the other nine? Only this stranger was found among them to turn back and give glory to God ! Jesus said to him :   »Get up and go: your faith has saved you. » (Lk 17, 11-19)

The ten lepers

As Jesus continued on his way to Jerusalem and passed between Samaria and Galilee, ten lepers met him and begged for mercy from afar. As soon as he saw them, Jesus ordered them to go and show themselves to the priests. When they went, they were healed. One of them came back glorifying God; and throwing himself at Jesus’ feet, he gave him thanks. He was a Samaritan. His conduct inspired this sad reflection in Jesus: Were not the ten healed ? Did not any of the other nine return, like this stranger, to give glory to God ? Then he said to the leper, « Go, your faith has saved you.

Luke gave another indication of Jesus’ long journey to Jerusalem, interrupted and delayed by various excursions and work. At that moment he was passing between Samaria and Galilee, heading west and east towards the Jordan and Perea. He did not take one of the two ordinary routes to Jerusalem, either through Perea or through Samaria. These lepers, excluded by law from all communication with society, had gathered together in order to provide each other with the care that everyone else denied them.

It was because of the same prohibition that they stopped at a distance and had to raise their voices to beg Jesus for mercy. The priests alone had the right to acknowledge the healing of a leper and to reinstate him to his Israelite privileges. Jesus did not consider that the miraculous healing which they received exempted these lepers from observing the law; and at the same time, as they had to go trusting in his word alone, it was an exercise of faith for them.

They were healed as they went, in the very act of their obedience to Jesus’ word. And this healing was so complete that they had no doubt about it. This man, who was less enlightened than his fellow Israelites, surpassed them by far in his ardent gratitude for so unexpected a benefit. He gave the glory to God, but he did not forget the one who had immediately conferred it on him ; he thanked him for it with deep humility. « Jesus spoke these words with the sadness that the ingratitude of the children of his people inspired in him. « The first shall be last ».

Jesus drew the same contrast elsewhere between Jews and a Samaritan (Lk 10:31-33). This man’s faith, and then his deep gratitude to God and to Jesus, were certainly the starting point for a whole new development in his religious life, the final outcome being the salvation of his soul.

Deacon Michel Houyoux

♥to other Christian websites

◊ My Catholic Life : clik here to read the paper →  Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time – Year C

◊ Loyola Press   : clik here to read the paper →  Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

♥  Video  Jesus Heals Ten Lepers

Image de prévisualisation YouTube

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