Gratitude—Twelfth Sunday of Luke

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

I am leprous and sinful, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, and I find myself outside the city wall which has twelve foundations (Revelation 21:12–14).  And in my wretched state I see the Lord from afar off and call out to him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy upon me.”

But despite my loneliness I am not alone.  For in that very moment I recognise my sin and call out to the Lord he is not afar off but near to me, as the Prophet David tells us,

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
  And holy in all his works.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
  To all who call upon him in truth.
He shall do the will of those who fear him,
  And he shall hear their supplications and save them.

— Psalm 144:17–19 ʟxx

For when I call out to the Lord he is already near me and hears my prayer.  And he instructs me to go and present myself to the priests—not that they will heal me but that they may recognise in me the healing from the Lord.  And I go and tell the priest all that the Lord has done for me and he confirms the change that has happened in me.

And given all the Lord has done for me—he has found me in my sinful state, he has listened to my call, he has immediately come near me, he has healed me by his word, he has given me the means of reconciliation with him and with the citizens of Heaven—I need to respond.  I need to decide if I shall be thankful, which is to say if I shall be eucharistic, or not.  Will I live my life so that it is communion with him or not?

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, the Lord has provided us much for which to be grateful, to be thankful, to be eucharistic.  And in our busy and hectic lives it is easy to overlook this fact.  We are focused on tasks, on jobs, on roles—all these things are symbolised in “Go and show yourselves to the priests”—when we should be focused on persons: on our neighbours, on our friends, on our families but most of all focused on Christ so that we can remain thankful and eucharistic.  And when we do this, when we stay and remember our first love (cf. Revelation 2:4–5), Christ himself unites us to all whom we love: “Rise and go your way;” he would say to you and he would say to me, “Rise and go your way to the community, to your family, to your friends; Rise and go your way uniting yourselves to them all through me,” “your faith has made you well.” To our incarnate, crucified and risen Saviour, Jesus Christ, who freely offers us healing, be all glory, honour and worship, together with his unoriginate Father and the All-holy, Good and Life-giving Spirit.  Amen.

Brethren, when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
— Colossians 3:4–11

At that time, as Jesus 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’s 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.”
— Luke 17:12–19