Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."Luke 17:11-19 (NIV)
the Gospel appointed for the National Day of Thanksgiving
So, here's the quiz: Read the text carefully. According to the text, how many of the lepers showed themselves to the priest?
While at first you may wish to say nine, the text does not specifically say that the nine Jewish lepers ever made it to the priests. While they very well may have, in fact, they most likely did, the text does not explicitly say that they showed themselves to the priests.
However, the Samaritan leper, while on his way to the priests, stopped, turned around, and showed himself to the Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. And what did He say to the Samaritan? "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
First, Jesus cleanses all ten lepers. Then, he forgives the one leper's sins. You see, the Greek for that last statement is more accurately translated, "Rise and go; your faith has saved you." In other words, you are forgiven for all of your sins.
Flash forward to today. We who are Christian were once enemies of God, stricken with the leprosy of sin. And, while we may still have bouts of it from time to time, we who are Baptized have been cleansed and forgiven. Granted God-given faith in Holy Baptism—washed clean in those holy waters—our dear Lord says to us, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well—your faith has saved you!"
So, in this year of unparalleled tragedy and disaster...in a time when it seems all the more that hope is lost and despair increases, we still have that one thing needful: the forgiveness of our sins. Chief of all, that it what I have to be thankful for. Why? Because it grants me entrance into the eternal Kingdom of God. Yes, I have it now—my inheritance is sure—and I look forward to that day when I will be received with all the faithful—the day the Christ returns to claim His bride to himself.
"Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom His world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
A blessed Thanksgiving to you all!