It is heart-breaking to hear that, at times, many people do not seem to know how to say thank you. We may not show our gratitude directly to the person by saying thank you or sending them a note. It is essential, however, that we do not take things for granted and forget to thank the one supporting us.
In the context of the third part of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem along the border between Samaria and Galilee, the cleansing of the ten lepers is unique to Luke’s Gospel. From the three different pilgrimage paths from Galilee to Jerusalem, unlike other Jews, Jesus chose the shortest but most dangerous one.
For the ten lepers, particularly, and all of us, generally, Jesus takes real risks for an encounter along with the request. The meeting happens at a distance because of the leprosy, and it becomes closer for the Samaritan who is healed, turns back, praises God, falls on his face at Jesus’ feet and thanks him.
One out of ten, the Samaritan stands out among his leper fellows with a list of his actions. He recognises his healing and turns back. With a loud voice, he praises God, which is the unique vocabulary of Luke. He does not just say thanks but falls on his face at Jesus’ feet. He comes as close as possible to Jesus, to the lowest part of Him.
Acknowledging the gratitude of the Samaritan, Jesus wonders if the other nine lepers are also healed. Luke does not tell who they are or whether they are healed. The good news for sure is that the Samaritan is not only healed but also saved. The Samaritan can rise and go on his journey in good shape physically and spiritually.
Learning from Jesus and the Samaritan, a foreigner, we may take risks to encounter our ‘leprosy’ sisters and brothers and be healed. We know how to praise God in everything and say thanks with the deepest gratitude of our hearts.
JD Tân T CP is a Vietnamese Passionist who lives and studies further at the Holy Cross Retreat, Templestowe.