Dear Friend of Carmel Mission,
In his letter to Timothy St. Paul says something I think is crucial to our understanding of, not only this Sunday’s Gospel reading, but what Sacred Scripture is fundamentally trying to teach us – “God’s word is not chained.” (2 Tim: 9) Indeed, God and God’s word are not chained by the limits of human understanding. God’s love transcends whatever barriers we may create.
Last week I talked about the disciples learning to be agents in their own spiritual growth. There is much personal agency at work in today’s Gospel as well. The lepers were complete social outcasts, required to announce their presence so they could be avoided at all costs, and reliant on the charity of those taking pains to be nowhere near them. They defy these norms and call out to Jesus not for alms, but for help. Jesus could have healed them instantaneously but instead asks that they have faith in His healing power and go show themselves to the priests, who would be the ones to verify that they could reenter their former lives. They head out to do so still afflicted, believing that Jesus will heal them, which, of course, He does.
What happened to the other nine lepers? Where they all just ungrateful wretches with no care for the great gift Jesus had given them? I do not think so. More than likely, it was not that they were completely ungrateful, but that gratitude was not their first priority. They had just undergone a life changing event, they could see their families and friends again, resume normal life, going back to thank Jesus was a low priority. In our demanding, fast-paced world, it can be hard to make gratitude a priority. We often go to God with a list of our (legitimate) needs and concerns, forgetting to first thank God for all the good He already gives us. As we see with the Samaritan, gratitude is two way street, one which often leads to even greater blessings.
I wish you and your loved ones continues blessings of good health, great hope, and abundant gratitude,
Please take a moment to read our Carmel Mission Weekly Bulletin.