November 13, 2019
(St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin)
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!”
After healing them, 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. Lk_17:11-19
Jesus always ventured far beyond, just His words, to teach His disciples how to live those words in real life. Today’s Gospel was a case in point. Of course we know that the Jews and the Gentiles of Galilee and Samaria didn’t get along very well together. And we often hear how Jesus and His Jewish disciples went walking through that enemy territory.
It might be comparable to us walking through some of the worst slums in St. Louis, or Chicago, or New York City. And when those gangs, or beggars, or diseased and crippled people begin to shout at us, our tendency is to walk faster, to turn the other way, or even, to run (for fear of our lives)!
You see, by the time of this Gospel story, Jesus, had already gotten the reputation of being a great healer. And there were whole masses of people who sought Him, everywhere He went. And when it came to healing, all those barriers of culture, or nationality, or even religion were meaningless. It didn’t matter WHO the healer was, just being out of the pain or the disability was well worth the risk of asking, even their enemy.
Now remember, it was Jesus, who taught us to love, not just our friends, but our enemies as well. And walking, and talking, and actually being among those enemies, was the very best way to model, exactly how that love should be lived.
So when the ten-lepers called out to Jesus for help, which was their way of showing respect, by not coming too close and infecting Him with their disease, Jesus happily obliged, by healing them from a distance.
And in that healing, their initial act of respect was rewarded with a gift of love and cleansing. Yet, only one of the lepers, ever understood the bigger picture.
The picture of LOVE for enemies. The picture of who it actually was that healed him. The picture, that gifts and grace deserve nothing less than exultant thanksgiving.
You see, like that healed, Samaritan leper, brothers and sisters, we have so very much to give God thanks for, that there’s almost not enough time in the day to mention it all.
But we can start with His gift of Jesus.
And then we can continue with the models of all the saints, like St. Frances Cabrini, who like Jesus, dedicated her whole life to healing and teaching and showing God’s Love to a world, that’s just starving for it.
Thank you for the love. Thank you for the caring. Thank you for the sacrifice. Thank you for the “real life” examples. And thank you for being our Lord and God!
If only we can be – just a little – like You!
Special happy birthday blessings for one of my favorite two Son-in-Laws, Joe. Here’s wishing you an awesome day!!!
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