Ordered Towards God

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”
(Luke 17:11-19)

Scripture Study

17:11 his journey to Jerusalem Luke reminds his readers that Jesus is still in the midst of His travels. Samaria and Galilee Samaria was between Galilee and Judaea, where Jerusalem was located.

17:12 lepers The Greek word used here could refer to a variety of skin diseases, including leprosy itself. Leprosy damages the skin, nerves, limbs, and eyes. It was thought to be highly contagious in this period and was greatly feared. they stood at a distance Due to the fear of contagion, people with skin diseases were required to withdraw from the community and alert anyone who was approaching. See Num 5:2–3; Lev 13:45–46.

17:13 Jesus, Master, have pity on us Their prior knowledge of Jesus suggests that they are calling for Him to heal them, not begging for alms.

17:14 Go show yourselves to the priests According to the law, people with a skin disease had to be examined by a priest, who would determine whether they were clean or unclean (see Lev 13:1–59 and Lev 14:1–32). they were cleansed Healed of their leprosy and rendered ceremonially clean.

17:16 he fell at the feet of Jesus Paying homage to Jesus as He praises God the Father. he was a Samaritan Luke withholds this detail until now for dramatic effect. Samaritans and Jews despised each other.

17:18 this foreigner Presumably, then, the other nine lepers were Jews. Jesus marvels at their lack of expressed gratitude.

17:19 your faith The faith of one of Israel’s loathed neighbors—a Samaritan—is elevated above the faith of Jews. Jesus often associates faith and healing (e.g., 5:20; 7:9, 50; 8:48; 18:42).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel recounts the Lord’s healing of ten lepers, only one of whom comes back to give thanks. Leprosy frightened people in ancient times, just as contagious and mysterious diseases frighten people today. But, more than this, leprosy rendered someone unclean and therefore incapable of engaging in the act of worship. It is not accidental that the person responsible for examining the patient in ancient Israel was the priest. The priest’s job was to monitor the whole process of Israelite worship, very much including who could and couldn’t participate in the Temple.

What is so important about worship? To worship is to order the whole of one’s life toward the living God, and, in doing so, to become interiorly and exteriorly rightly ordered. To worship is to signal to oneself what one’s life is finally about. Worship is not something that God needs, but it is very much something that we need.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.