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Synchronicity & the Lepers

The Cleansing of Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-19)

We find a peculiar spiritual synchronicity between God’s revelation and our worship and discipleship. Take for instance the story of the ten lepers.

The history of salvation begins not with our search for God but rather with a God who comes in search of us.  Similarly, our worship begins with a procession.  It is always our Lord entering Jerusalem. Hailed by hosannas and palm branches, he comes to lay down his life for us— he dies that we might live.  The priest approaches the altar and cross. 

We read: “As he [Jesus] continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.”

We wander as pilgrims in this world.  This is not our true home.  We have been fashioned for a New Jerusalem, heaven. Our Lord encounters us along the Way. We come to church and encounter Christ.

We read: “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!’”

Similarly at Mass, we come together as a community, not just as individuals.  We are wounded and want to be healed.  The lepers cry out for mercy.  We do the same in the penitential rite: “Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.”  

We read: “And when he saw them, he said, ‘Go show yourselves to the priests.’”

As with Mass, we hear Scripture and here our Lord cites Leviticus 14 that required lepers to be washed and examined by priests before being declared clean and returning to their communities.

We read: “As they were going they were cleansed.”

The Eucharist is the great sacrament of the paschal mystery.  We are fed and transformed into what we receive. We are remade ever more and more into the likeness of Christ. Grace builds upon grace for those washed clean in baptism.

We read: “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.”

We come back to the Lord again and again. This is true with our attendance at Mass and in the sacrament of penance.  We fall to our knees and cry out, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned.” At Mass we give “thanksgiving” to God, a word that means “Eucharist.”    

We read: “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?’”

Why would a Samaritan go to a Jewish priest? Disposed to grace, instead, he goes to the great high priest, Jesus Christ.  The ancient promise given first to the Jews will now be given to the whole world so long as there is a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  The covenant of Christ would make enemies into friends and strangers into family.

We read: “Then he said to him, ‘Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.’”

As with the end of Mass, having had a saving encounter with the Lord, we are sent on mission— to proclaim the Good News and to share what we have received.  We are all lepers called to Christ for healing!

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