(Luke 17:11-19) “Oh, my God…” is such a commonly used expression these days that we don’t often think about how it came to be or how it’s even meant to be used… as a sincere plea for help. Yet, in a very real sense, these words are all that’s necessary to call on the power of God to save us, in whatever form that may take.
In this week’s Gospel, we encounter a group of lepers crying out to Jesus: “Have mercy on us” (Lk 17:13). Jesus knows that they are suffering – not only physically, but also emotionally – and He heals them without hesitation.1 But the point of the story isn’t about Jesus’ ability to heal. Rather, it’s about our attitude – our willingness to call on the Lord in times of need and to respond in gratitude to His gift of grace in our lives. Both require a good measure of humility.
During the next few weeks, the Gospels prompt us to reflect on the mercy of God. This gift of grace is readily available to us, but how do we respond? Do we feel “entitled” to all that we receive, or are we truly grateful? Of the 10 who were healed of leprosy, why did only one come back to thank Jesus? How easy it is to call on the Lord in the midst of our misery and suffering. Yet, when things are going well, we often forget all about Him. We must give credit where credit is due. The good that happens in our lives is simply God’s loving care for us – not mere coincidence, not our doing, not something we could have earned or deserve. Our Heavenly Father is the source of all the goodness and blessing in our lives.
Jesus knows – without our asking – precisely what ails us. But He is waiting for us to turn to Him and allow Him to begin His saving work in our lives. Though we are disfigured by sin, our Lord wants to heal us, to make us whole in His love. Let us abandon ourselves to His divine mercy and be washed clean…and offer a sacrifice of praise to our God!
– Kelley Holy
1 Leprosy was a very disfiguring disease, so those afflicted would have been ostracized from society.