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It’s All About a Covenant Life

November 14, 2012

November 14, 2012, Wednesday,Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Titus 3:1-7.  For we ourselves were deluded, but because of his mercy, he saved us.

Luke 17:11-19.  Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?


Regarding this parable [The Cleansing of Ten Lepers], Passionist Fr. Carroll Stuhlmueller, C.P. wrote, “Misery so loves company that this group consists of both Jews and a Samaritan!” He added, “This story gives the disposition for prayer: gratitude.”  There is an unmistakable sense of urgency in these parables as we approach the end of our year, the end of days.  Our Lord has much to teach.  This is such a rich verse; more complex than one reads.  Of course we see gratitude at work here – who would not be thankful?  Ostracized to the outskirts of their civilization, relying on bits and scraps of mercy?  Certainly these lepers are grateful?

Why is this story much more than just healing some lepers?  Jesus, himself, is on the way to Jerusalem to demonstrate the Father’s mercy for us.  And he is passing between Samaria and Galilee.  We have learned from John’s Woman at the Well that Samaria was a place any good Jew would avoid and go around, much like I used to feel about Connecticut.  The Son of Man is busy fulfilling the Scriptures, fulfilling the Law.  These lepers aren’t just cut off from the town – they are cut off from God, unable to worship.  By healing them, once passing Levitical inspection, they would be reinstated into the covenant life with the Father.

Faith in Christ Jesus is all about living in covenant with the Father.

Faith in Christ Jesus is all about living in covenant with the Father.

One of them, realizing he had been healed, returned… and fell at the feet of Jesus, giving him thanks.  He was a Samaritan.  Why didn’t this man just go and show himself to his Samaritan priests?  Because at that time – like the Woman at the Well – he realized that those priests – as well as himself – were not living in covenant with the Father.  And so, by begging mercy at the feet of God the Son, he recognizes the authority here, and restores his life.

Again, our faith in Christ Jesus is all about living in covenant with the Father.

We hear this Sunday at Mass:  It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father… Give thanks and praise always…

Samaritans are integral in salvation history.  In the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke Ch. 10, we are reminded to love our neighbor: for it was a Samaritan who showed mercy.  And here, it is a Samaritan who is rewarded with God’s mercy.  We are all Samaritans, Gentiles all to be united in the Kingdom of God.  This story shows, in fulfillment of Scripture and prophesy, how we are all to be welcomed into God’s Covenant family when hearing the words, “Stand up and go, your faith has saved you.”

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