November 12, 2006
Saint Josaphat, bishop. Memorial
Luke 17: 11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" And when he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?" Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."
Introductory Prayer: My Lord and my God, you have the power to cure me of anything that disfigures my soul. When I sin, I put distance between you and myself, but now I reach out to you in prayer. I await your kindness and mercy.
Petition: Jesus, you teach me to repent and to believe in the Gospel. Grant me your forgiveness so that I, too, may stand up and follow you on the path of faith.
1. Lord, Hear Our Prayer
Lepers were both religious and social outcasts. They lived outside the city and were not allowed to participate in public worship. A cure from their leprosy meant both alleviation from physical pain and suffering and a return to the community. Jesus was their one hope, and they cried out to him, “Have pity on us!” When we pray, we should approach Jesus with the same interest and enthusiasm as the lepers did. Prayer is an invitation to “raise the voice” of our soul and ask God for the gift of his love and friendship. He will always give us whatever we need.
2. Obedience Is Bliss
Often, when we ask God for good things, he doesn’t seem to answer our prayers. The lepers deeply desired to be cleansed and knew that Jesus was the answer to their prayers. Instead of immediately granting their request, he ordered them to show themselves to the priests. The lepers were quick and joyful to obey the words of the Master. Only after being obedient to Jesus’ words in faith did the lepers receive healing. Obedience to God’s plan opens our minds and trains our hearts to see things from his perspective. We can always be sure that his words enliven the soul and enlighten the mind.
3. Give God the Glory
The lepers’ different reactions to their healing are a lesson for us about the depth of our prayer. All ten lepers were very eager to receive good things from God, and their desire was expressed in their plea to be healed. They were careful to make sure that God heard their voices. Yet once they were given what they wanted, most of them seem to have forgotten about Jesus. The same can happen in our life. When we ask God for something, we want to be certain that he hears our prayer. How often are we concerned that he hears our prayer of thanksgiving? Only the Samaritan was as eager to give thanks and praise to God as he was to ask for healing. Can we say the same?
Conversation with Christ: Jesus, thank you for dying on the Cross for me. Thank you for the countless ways you have helped me throughout my life. Expand my heart, and help me to love you and serve you with the same enthusiasm with which I ask for your help and guidance.
Resolution: I will offer one decade of the rosary today for those who are afflicted with serious illnesses.
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