The Gospel for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Luke 17:11-19) tells the story of Jesus healing ten lepers. Sadly, only one returned to thank him. The Lord’s words (“Where are the other nine?”) help to remind us of the importance of thanking God for our blessings. While this is a great takeaway (Heck, I even dedicated my weekly radio show to it!), there’s another message that is equally important. It’s so subtle, however, that you may have missed it.
From a distance (because they were considered to be unclean), the lepers shouted “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” He responded by telling them to show themselves to the priests. This was done so that the healing could be confirmed and they could be declared “clean”. There was only one problem. Take a look at what happened next and see if you can pick it up…
As they were going they were cleansed. (Luke 17:14)
Did you catch that? Jesus told them to present themselves to the priests BEFORE they were actually healed! AND THEY LISTENED TO HIM!!! I have to be honest and tell you that I don’t think I would have responded in the same way. Before I’d present myself to the priests for confirmation of my healing, I would want to make sure that I was healed. Otherwise, I could end up looking like an idiot. Sure, all ten lepers should have thanked Jesus, but lets give them some props for their faith. They trusted that he would follow through on his promise and heir faith paid off in a big way.
Here’s the challenge. When you pray, do you believe that the Lord will hear and answer you? Would you be willing to do what the lepers did without seeing concrete results? Personally speaking, I want to have that kind of faith – not “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it”, but total belief that Jesus hears and answers all of my prayers in the best way possible at the right time. How about you?
Dear Jesus – In my head I believe that you love me and can do all things, but sometimes that knowledge doesn’t make it to my heart. I present all of my needs to you now, knowing in my head that you will hear and answer me. Please help my heart to believe it too. I want to have the faith of the 10 lepers, but I also want to be grateful. Therefore, I thank you in advance for hearing and answering me. I love you, Lord. In your powerful name I pray. Amen.