Memory of the Saints and the Prophets

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people acquired by God
to proclaim his marvellous works.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 17, 11-19

Now it happened that on the way to Jerusalem he was travelling in the borderlands of Samaria and Galilee.

As he entered one of the villages, ten men suffering from a virulent skin-disease came to meet him. They stood some way off

and called to him, 'Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.'

When he saw them he said, 'Go and show yourselves to the priests.' Now as they were going away they were cleansed.

Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice

and threw himself prostrate at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan.

This led Jesus to say, 'Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they?

It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.'

And he said to the man, 'Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

You will be holy,
because I am holy, thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The evangelist again refers to the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem in order to show the new climate that develops around him. As he is about to enter a village, ten lepers come to meet him. This is the second account in Luke of the healing of leprosy (the first was in Lk 5:12-14). This time, unlike the previous one, the lepers stop at a distance and cry out for healing, a cry similar to that which rises from many distant lands, begging help and support. Unfortunately, often this cry remains unheard. We can join it with the communal prayer that Christians raise to God for themselves and for the world. In fact, there is a sort of harmony between the cry of the poor and the prayer of the Church. In both cases, the poor and the disciples find themselves united in praying for a world of justice and peace, of brotherhood and love. Certainly, we must ask ourselves whether such a prayer is weak and not bold enough. The cry of those ten lepers urges us to increase the force and boldness, even of our prayers. Jesus, like the heavenly Father, is not deaf to the prayer of the poor. No sooner does Jesus hear their cry, he looks at them, fixes his eyes on their eyes, and orders them to go and present themselves to the priests. Along the way, all ten are healed of their leprosy. Only one, however, returns and thanks the Lord; and he is a Samaritan, a stranger, and a believer of a faith different from the Jews. Once again, the evangelist reports a stranger as an exemplary disciple. This latter, noticing that he was cured, feels the need to thank, to express all his gratitude to the one who had cured him. And Jesus looks with pleasure upon this Samaritan, and with sadness on all the others. Yes, even the Lord needs to be thanked. Surely not because he needs it, but because it is beneficial for us to understand that we owe all to the Lord: what we are and the gifts we have come from God. And blessed are we, if like that leper, we know how to return to the feet of the Lord to thank him for the many gifts he has bestowed on us. Sad and pharisaic is that disciple who claims privileges before the Lord. He acts in the same way before his brothers and sisters, thus showing the pride that poisons the heart and relationships. The body of the Samaritan leper was healed along with his heart. The other nine were healed in body but their hearts were still sick, incapable of gratitude. The complete cure of the Samaritan brought him back to Jesus to express his gratitude. The prayer of gratitude must never fade from the lips of the disciples. Once again, a Samaritan becomes an example for us, to return everyday to the feet of the Lord and thank him for the many gifts he never ceases to bestow.