Encountering God and World in Scriptures

Light of truth

Lectio Divina 10

Fr Justine Kaipranpadan

“On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was  passing by Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, ten lepers approached Him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were clensed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned praising God with a loud voice. He fell at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him. Realizing that he was a Samaritan, Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to Him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:11-19).

This passage is focused on  thanksgiving, but here we reflect on the compassion and attitude of Jesus towards the downtrodden people. The ten lepers were crying equally to the Lord. In the midst of misery, they remain one as in the case of flood overwhelmed Kerala. They neither think about their origin, religion or customs. They prayed together and it was answered. After the healing, on the way to the priests, they realized that nine are Jews and the other is Samaritan. As the pharisaic laws were very strict and heavy the Jew lepers couldn’t come back and say thanks. For the Samaritan the healing was a precious gift which he cannot forget. Jesus appreciates the foreigner’s faith. He set aside the entire system of taboos based on ideas of purity, race and occupation. In disregard of a whole tradition of Samaritan as untouchables, Jesus has a theological discussion with the Samaritan woman and he purposefully places the good Samaritan for the question of eternal life and gives the model for the good neighbor.

O’ Lord, thank you very much. Every-thing in my life is your gift. I join the psalmist in prayer “We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds.” Help me, Lord, to understand the humanity and your equal providence among the people. You cause sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. I do not know how to distinguish it. Sometimes, Lord, I forget that you are the savior of the oppressed. I know that “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you all are one in Christ Jesus. But when I’m being discriminated, help me, Lord.

Jesus thinks that the rejected stones are the best foundations. His behaviour was disruptive of the old caste-infected mind set and social fabric. He is dreaming for a new order of free and equal people. How can I accept and acknowledge the dignity of other? I kneel the same way as the good Samaritan leper knelt and ask pardon for not having the attitude of gratitude. I can feel his gentle touch from deep inside me: “I am the leper, and let me be a Samaritan.”

I will begin a new life by leaving the attitude of spiritual superiority. Its hollowness should be exposed. I will go to the peripheries of my fields and show mercy especially to the poor, alone, subjugated, persecuted, crushed, underprivileged, victimized, powerless, helpless, women, children and other religious people.

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