Gospel Reflections

Thanksgiving Day

Luke 17:11-19

Feast Day Reflection by Sister Sharon McMillan

Published: November 22, 2018



Overcome by the catastrophe of leprosy, they all became outcasts and huddled together in one fragile band:  some Jewish merchants, Samaritan farmers, children taken from school, perhaps even a scribe, mothers, fathers. The divisions forged by their fiercely separate faiths dissolved in the common affliction of leprosy. So Jews and Samaritans were all outcasts together now. Of course they were waiting there at the edge of town, warning passersby to keep away. But Jesus crossed the village boundary, the social boundary, the religious boundary, and actually stopped, heard their cries, saw them (really, truly, whole-heartedly saw them, each of them) and offered them healing and (infinitely more!) wholeness.

"As they were going, they were cleansed." Isn't that a powerful line?! It wasn't because they saw the marks of their leprosy disappear that they left. They believed first, before their eyes saw anything. It was only after following the path that the healings happened. Because the lepers believed in the tender mercy showered upon them by God through this itinerant, wonder-working prophet, they didn't even have to stop and look; they ran to the nearest gathering of priests. They believed him. His word alone had healed them.

And then one of the Samaritans saw beyond and beneath the physical healing: he found in Jesus God's compassion, God's power, God's forgiveness, and he returned to claim the whole gift -- the source of God's healing and wholeness, the source of God's inclusiveness and communion -- Jesus, the resurrection and the life. He wanted all that Jesus offered, the cure that penetrated beneath the skin to the heart, the mind, the spirit, and the soul.

Notice that Jesus does not say "your faith has healed you" but "your faith has saved you." Welcome into the reign of God which is in your midst! You have fallen into the arms of the infinitely good God who has lavish healing and wholeness to offer you, not once but at every breath.

Jesus said to him what he says to us as he heals us: "Stand up and go!" You can count on my miracles to fill your life day after day. Welcome into the reign of God where every moment is giving thanks, thanks giving. Stand up and go to those who have not yet heard of the lavish goodness God cannot wait to share!





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