TWENTY EIGHTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR C
9th October 2022
2 Kings 5:14-17; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Luke 17:11-19.
The parable of the ten lepers is associated with the theme of gratitude. Jesus healed ten lepers but only the Samaritan, the foreigner came back to express his gratitude for the miraculous healing. This made Jesus to say: ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ Although it is not clear the exact time of the miraculous healing, what is clear was that they were cleansed while on their way to show themselves to the priest as Jesus instructed them to do. According to Jewish law only the priest can authoritatively confirm their healing and reintegration into the community. We are not far from the truth if we conclude that the other nine, presumably Jewish, were overwhelmed with joy of being reintegrated into the community that they regarded going back to show some gratitude to Jesus unnecessary and a waste of time.
The ingratitude of the other nine reveal the unfortunate reality of the modern day Christian. We are fast losing the Christian tradition of giving thanks to God for favours received. Rather than give thanks to God first for the miraculous healing, the nine were more interested in recovering all they lost during the period of estrangement caused by leprosy. They are not interested in the lessons learnt from the awful experience of sickness. They hurriedly go back to normal life.
The grateful Samaritan received salvation in the form of a regeneration. He received a new and improved disposition to face life. He is not going back to normal life. In fact, he has a new life. Whatever happened prior and during the period of sickness is buried in the past. There is no need to recover the very life that brought about leprosy. In the first reading Naaman sought for the permission to carry away two mules of earth because he will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except the Lord.
The lesson for us today is that the ungrateful heart is eager to undo misfortunes in order to recover what was lost. The grateful heart is concerned with a new beginning that is offered by the mercy of God. When we are grateful for favours received, we face the future with renewed fidelity.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.