Homily for the twenty-eighth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 17:11-19
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, «Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.» When he saw them he said to them, «Go and show yourselves to the priests.» And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, «Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?» And he said to him, «Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, «Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.» When he saw them he said to them, «Go and show yourselves to the priests.» "
 
In today's gospel, Jesus is walking along a road, between Samaria and Galilee. The Savior of mankind goes from place to place to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. But in order that this proclamation of the kingdom of God might better penetrate people's souls, Jesus also wants to first heal their bodies. How can a man receive the message of Jesus with joy if his soul and mind are filled with anguish by the pain of a torn and bruised body? There is a saying: "an empty stomach has no ear." Jesus knows it. That's why he is going to heal these ten lepers who come to him, so that, once healed, they might believe in him and recognize him as the Messiah who was to come.
 
We might ask ourselves whether Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was present. It is not only possible, but likely. Why wouldn't she follow her Son on his apostolic journey? Be that as it may, the lepers are visibly attracted to Jesus: it is they who are going towards Jesus, and not Jesus who is going towards them. "As he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers." Now, their approach towards Jesus is the fruit of God's grace, as Jesus himself said: "No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (Jn. 6:65) Thus, as every grace is given to us through Mary, how can we not think that the Mother of God is at her Son's side at this encounter with the lepers?
 
The lepers lift up their voices and say: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" And Jesus answers them in the following manner: "Go and show yourselves to the priests." Is there not some similarity here with the wedding at Cana? When there was no more wine, Mary, who saw this to be the case, sent the servants to Jesus, asking them to do whatever her divine Son would tell them to do. And Jesus gave the servants a rather curious order, one without any connection to the lack of wine: they were told to fill the wine jars with water! Here too, in the case of the ten lepers, it is as if Mary, by God's grace, invited the lepers to carry out her Son's command. But this command also seems very odd, having very little connection with the problem of leprosy with which these ten men are afflicted...
 
" And as they went they were cleansed. "
 
Behold the accomplished miracle! What a mystery! Truly, this really is a mystery: the mystery that is at the very heart of the act of obedience to God! For Jesus is God, and it truly is as God that he gave his order. In Cana, he gave the order to draw water; here, he gave the order for the lepers to go and show themselves to the priests. And it is while carrying out the Master's orders that the water was changed into wine and the ten lepers were healed of their incurable illness! Obedience produces miracles, and those who obey God are mediators of grace for themselves and for others!
 
" Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving himthanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, «Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?» "
 
Jesus is good to all men and women on earth, but who is grateful for the goodness of God that we benefit from? Is it the many or the few? Today's gospel answers us once again: it is the few! Only one leper in ten came back to thank Jesus for having healed him! And Jesus clearly says so: "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?" The Heart of God, who is so good, laments bitterly: "Where are the nine?" Yes, where are they? Mary led them all to Jesus, and yet only one of them comes back to Jesus!!! The Heart of Mary doesn't say anything, but it is just as distressed by this ingratitude as the Heart of her divine Son!
 
" And he said to him, «Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.» "
 
Perseverance in faith and gratitude bear their fruits: the salvation of the soul is the first of these! We, too, are going to celebrate a thanksgiving, a liturgy of thanks through the Body and the Blood of Christ. We are going to celebrate the memorial of the Lord, the eucharistic sacrifice, the thanksgiving for all the fruits of the Redemption of the Savior of mankind. This communion with the Sacrifice of Christ will allow us to receive from God himself, to the extent of our gratitude and faith, eternal life and the salvation of our soul: "He who believes has eternal life." (Jn. 6:47) May Mary help us to worthily celebrate the great Mystery of Faith!
 

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