Jesus Our Shepherd
Luke 17:11-19
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

On the journey to Jerusalem, Jesus passed along the borders of Samaria and Galilee. As Jesus was entering a village, ten people with leprosy met him. Keeping their distance, they raised their voices and said, “Jesus, Rabbi, have pity on us!” When Jesus saw them, he responded, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going, they were healed.

One of them, realizing what had happened, came back praising God in a loud voice, then fell down at Jesus’ feet and spoke his praises. This individual was a Samaritan. Jesus replied, “Were not all ten made whole? Where are the other nine? Was there no one to return and give thanks except this foreigner? Then Jesus said to the Samaritan, “Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you.”

Homily for 10 October 2004
Fr. Bob Scanlan

In doing a little research I have found that there are 33 miracles mentioned in the New Testament attributed to Jesus in His 3 years of public ministry. That equates to about 1 per month. He had a reputation for preaching, doing miraculous things and even healing some people. Many of us are familiar with some of these events, even raising Lazarus from the dead.

In the Gospel of Luke today we hear one of the stories that are all too human. I say this because many of us at times forget who it is who heals us of our illnesses. This story of the ten lepers who were healed and only one coming back to give thanks shows the human condition clearly. Jesus uses as His example of the person who gave thanks a Samaritan---one of the outcasts of that community. In those days Samaritans were viewed as the radicals of their era. The Samaritans were Jews but were outcastes of the Jewish community. The only reason the Samaritan was associated with the other 9 was the fact that he also had leprosy, not that he was part of their community. Those being cured who are part of the accepted community seem to not be thankful at all for their healing. Did some of them even “expect” to be healed; expect that their illness would be gone? Jesus told them to go to the priests who would pronounce them healed as was the custom of the day. The Samaritan, not being one of their community, came back directly to give thanks to Jesus. Jesus of course was amazed that the other 9 did not come back to give thanks.

It has been my experience that many people have a need for healing. Some have a need for physical and others spiritual healing. Many times people seem to look for healing from many sources. Once healed, they may put their thanks in remote sources and forms of healing. In reality we all need to put our thanks in our healing and the direction in our life at the feet of Jesus and His healing power does work miracles in each of our lives.

Jesus uses the example of the Samaritan, being the outcaste of their society, as the one who is the person who does the right thing. We all know the story of the “Good Samaritan”. It was only the Good Samaritan who cared for the man beaten by the robbers. Today it is the Samaritan who comes back to give thanks for his healing.

In this Gospel there are those healed and Jesus doing the healing. We believe that we are the body of Christ. We believe that we can bring about healing with those we meet. We can heal relationships that are damaged in our family. We can heal relationships with those at work. We are in need of healing ourselves and at the same time in some situations can bring about healing and act like Jesus.

While at the hospital last Tuesday I visited Terry and his wife Debbie. Terry is a 56 year old man who was told Tuesday morning by his oncologist that he had perhaps one month left to live. I had visited with Terry previously when he was in for his usual round of chemo. He has neither church affiliation nor religious support system. He wants to stay at the hospital and die there rather than going home to die at home. He feels he can more easily control his pain with regularly increasing the morphine dose he receives every hour.

He reached out his hand to hold mine and said, “Say those prayers, father.”

Are we each aware of the times we have been healed? Healing can take place at many different times in our life. Perhaps our healing was physical, emotional or spiritual.

Once we are aware of the healing we have received, are we like the Samaritan who returns to give thanks to Jesus, or are we more like the other 9 who for whatever reason did not return to give thanks?