Lord, Open my Lips...
28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
A strange thing happens in the Gospel we hear today.
Ten people who are sick ask Jesus for mercy. (That's not the strange part.)
The disease these people had was very contagious. It was so contagious that they had to live away from everyone else. They couldn't live with their families because their families would get sick, too. I wouldn't like that, having to live apart from my family. Would you?
The 10 people ask Jesus for mercy--to heal them--because they have faith in God. They are certain that Jesus could heal them. Their faith gives God room to act.
And God does. As they are walking away, Jesus heals the 10 people. (That's not the strange part either, although it is amazing!!!)
Then the strange thing happens.
Only one of those 10 people, seeing that he is well again, begins to praise God. Only one person, in his joy, begins to tell the world of the great things that God has done. Only one person makes himself small before the greatness of God, lying down at Jesus' feet. Only one person, although all 10 were healed, comes back to thank Jesus.
And that one person? He is a Samaritan.
The Samaritans and the Jewish people did not get along. Samaritans did not worship God the way the Jewish people did. They avoided each other as much as possible. Walking from Galilee to Jerusalem, most Jewish people would go around Samaria, even though it would take longer. It was odd, then, that Jesus was going to travel through Samaria to get to Jerusalem.
Only the Samaritan praises God when he is healed. I wonder where the other 9 people are? Jesus wonders that, too. What are they thinking? They are healed, they can now return to their families. Why don't they thank Jesus? We don't know.
Jesus says that the people were healed because of their faith in God. But I think only one of them is in right-relationship with God, don't you?
There is an ancient Jewish prayer in Psalm 51:
Jewish people begin each day with this prayer. Many Christians do, too. Perhaps this week we can make this our prayer as we get out of bed in the morning. Then we, too, can shout with joy of the greatness of God.