As coldness begins to cover the northeast, and the first cold of the season makes its way through the family, I am reaching back into the archives today. Partly because it is a powerful story of healing and partly because, on this day off from work, all I want to do is crawl back into bed.
From 2016 –
The author of Luke’s Gospel account has Jesus’ healing ten lepers in this week’s reading. It’s a story that always causes such consternation. Ten were healed but only one returned to say “thank you.”
It is good to give thanks.
But to concentrate on the one who returned is to miss the point. Maybe the other nine had good reasons.
Maybe one was a mother who had been kept away from her children for so long by this disease that turns you into an outcast. She was healed and she rushed right home and returned to her family.
Maybe one didn’t believe he had been cured because he didn’t do anything to deserve it. He couldn’t face unconditional love – healing without a price – so he couldn’t see he was healed and just went back to the colony.
Another was really, really excited about being free from the ravages of his illness and in his excitement, he just forgot.
Maybe another was alone, having already lost his family and now the only family he knew – the other lepers – were gone too. He was cured but now he was alone. He wasn’t grateful, he was ticked.
I could go on but you get the point.
Ten were healed and only one said: “thank you.”
To concentrate on the one is to miss the point. Then again, I sometimes think we’ve institutionalized missing the point.
Ten were healed.
Ten were healed.
Ten cried out for mercy. Ten longed to be near Jesus so they just shouted as loud as they could. And Jesus, never one to leave someone wanting, responded simply, “Go, show yourselves to the priest” (the priest being the only one who could verify that they had, in fact, be healed).
They asked for Jesus’ mercy and received so much more.
Ten were healed. One said thank you.
It is good to say thank you.
But something tells me it is better to be healed.