What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord, I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Psalm 116:12-14
you have made heaven and earth
and all that is good:
help us to delight in simple things
and to rejoice always in the richness of your
bounty; through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of
the Holy Spirit, one God,
- Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7
- Psalm 66:1-11
- 2 Tim 2:8-15
- Luke 17:11-19
- Jeremiah 31:27-34
- Psalm 119:97-104
- 2 Tim 3:10-4:5
- Luke 18:1-14
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
One of the lepers, realizing that he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?”
The grateful Samaritan leper is another of the great saints of Luke’s Gospel. Terrified communities would cast out lepers from their midst, leaving them to fend for themselves outside the gates of their cities. This group of lepers included both Jews (Galileans) and Samaritans – they are so desperate in their plight that the bitter animosity between Jew and Samaritan evaporates in their need to depend on one another.
In sending the lepers off to those who can legally verify a cure rather than curing them outright, Jesus puts the lepers’ faith to the test. Only one – one of those despised Samaritans – realizes not only that he has been made clean but that he has been touched by God. His returning to Jesus to give thanks reflects the healing that has taken place within the leper’s soul. Faith is the recognition of the great love and compassion of God, a recognition that moves us to praise and acts of thanksgiving.
Like the leper in today’s Gospel, we realize that we have been cured despite the “illnesses” we face, that our blessings far outweigh our struggles, that we have reason to rejoice and hope despite the sadness and anxieties we must cope with.
There are still “lepers” among us, people we have consciously or unconsciously cast out of society’s gates by fear, mistrust and self-interest. They are the lepers – but we suffer the disease.
Faith begins with the practice of gratitude, gratitude that is grounded in the conviction that God has breathed his life into us for no other reason than love so deep we cannot begin to fathom it — and that the only fitting response we can make to such unexplainable and unmerited love is to stand humbly before God in quiet, humble gratitude.
Gratitude is a practice — a way of approaching life — that is grounded in the conviction that God has breathed his life into us for no other reason than love so deep we cannot begin to fathom it, and that the only fitting response we can make to such inexplicable and unmerited love is to stand humbly before God in quiet, humble gratitude.
You can download a copy of the Pew Sheet herePew-Sheet-Pentecost-18C