Only One? Where Are the Others?
We know the story well. Ten lepers, persons who were outsiders and marginalized, all ask for healing. All are healed. Only one comes back to Jesus to express gratitude.
What happens to the others? I wonder! They just seem to walk off after receiving the same gift of healing. It’s a miracle; they are healed and they are free to go about their business.
How often do we take for granted the blessings we have been given? It’s not so much that we aren’t thankful. We just forget to stop and express our gratitude, to recognize and praise the source of all goodness, and to act differently because we know we have been healed.
So what does gratitude look like today? God continuously pours grace into our lives. We are regularly healed in numerous ways. Are we paying attention? Are we responding? What change in attitude comes to us?
The attitude of gratitude usually means that we are attentive to the ways that we can help to heal the wounds of others. We want our own healing to be an impetus to assist the healings of others. Can we see Jesus in every excluded person, in persons who are hungry, thirsty, or naked? Can we see Jesus present even in those who are blessed by God but who have turned away from the practice of their faith? Can we see Jesus in the imprisoned, the persecuted, refugees, the unemployed—all who encounter discrimination! Will we be like the “only one” or like the nine others? Finding the Lord, seeking connectedness in worship and study and service, diving deeper and growing in maturity in our relationship with Jesus—these are the attitudes of gratitude.
Jesus intentionally and consistently sought the company of people who for one reason or another were forced to live on the fringe of society. These were the special objects of his attention.
We have modern day lepers, persons who suffer from “skin” that makes us feel dis-ease, to feel fearful or ill at ease. Our labels of persons continue to divide us, and they are more than skin deep. Demonstrations and riots abound. Borders are closed. Refugees die at sea. Healing is needed. And then the words of Scripture remind us that the one who expressed gratitude to Jesus was, in fact, the enemy, the hated one, the other.
How will we respond? Will everyone be welcome? What “foreigners” among us will we embrace? What healing will we ask for this weekend as we gather at the table of thanksgiving, the Eucharist?