Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 12-13 2019
In today’s Gospel as Jesus nears Jerusalem and his ultimate trials, he enters a village and ten lepers meet him. They remain at a distance, but call him by name; they knew him and that gave them hope. They also called him “Master” appealing to him as someone with more power and authority than they had. They ask for mercy (translated in our lectionary as pity). In Luke’s Gospel, pity is what the father felt for his prodigal son. Mercy is even more active. Pity leads you to feel deeply for someone who is thirsty; mercy moves you to search for a solution, in this case, water. The lepers asking for mercy wanted more than sympathy.
Jesus made no gesture and said no word of healing; he simply told them to go to Jerusalem and show themselves to the priest. Of course, that was forbidden; they couldn’t go near others because of their disease. They went away-whether feeling dismissed or hopeful, we have no idea. We wouldn’t know anything more except for the fellow who didn’t do what Jesus told him to do. When the Samaritan realized they had all been cured, he turned his back on Jerusalem and returned to Jesus praising God and thanking Jesus.
What about the other nine? We don’t know. But this one guy was different. As a Samaritan he knew what it was to be an outcast even before he became diseased. He realized that Jesus not only cured him, but also offered him a new, reciprocal relationship – an opportunity to be one with Jesus and experience life in abundance. He knew that he would never be the same again.
What about you? Me? How do we respond to the lavish mercy God has poured out on us?