Let Our Praise Be Loud and Out of Our Hearts

There are two elements to the story of the encounter between Jesus and the ten lepers. The first is the healing that these lepers experience when they go to see the priest (as Jesus asks of them) and the second, is the return of the one who gives thanks to Jesus for his healing.

At the time of Jesus, leprosy was a virulent and contagious disease. The person with leprosy had to live outside the town and could only come within shouting distance of another person. These lepers called out to Jesus, “Master, have pity on us.” They wanted to be restored, to be made whole. Their disease meant they were cut off from the community. They were isolated.

The medieval writer Bruno of Serni writes:

“They stood a long way off because no one in their condition dared come too close. We stand a long way off too while we continue to sin. To be restored to health and cured of the leprosy of sin we also must cry out: “Jesus, master, take pity on us.” That cry however, must come not from our lips but from out of our heart, for the cry of the heart is louder; it pieces the heavens, rising up to the very throne of God.”

So as Bruno reminds us, we don’t have physical leprosy but our addictions, our hurts, our weaknesses and sinfulness mean we are suffering from spiritual leprosy. We need to shout out, to call to Jesus, “Master have mercy on me.” Are we humble enough to realise our need for healing?

It was the foreigner, the outsider, the Samaritan, that was the only one, realising he was healed, turned back. He praised God at the top of his voice and fell at the feet of Jesus, thanking him. The Greek word for thanks is eucharisteo.

He was the only one who recognised the one who heals. Jesus says to him: “Stand up and go on your way. Your faith had saved you.” As one commentator says; “Jesus’ words suggest that the Samaritan received more than physical healing that all ten lepers received. Faith leads to salvation.”

As we pray, fully pondering this Gospel, we could ask ourselves; “Am I grateful to God for what he has done in my life. Do I thank him in the Eucharistic celebration and at times of Eucharistic adoration? Am I grateful to the people God has put in my life? How do I express my gratitude?” Let our praise be loud and out of our hearts.

Canon Father Anthony Charlton
Canon Father Anthony CharltonParish Priest