Text: Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?” Luke 17:17 NRSV
Scripture Reading: Luke 17:11-19
The reading from Luke today is one of my favorite Thanksgiving texts each year. Here we have Jesus going between Samaria and Galilee when he comes upon ten lepers, who decide to approach him. Now, in Jesus’ day, lepers were considered “unclean,” which meant that they were the outcast of their society. In fact, they were avoided by others at all costs. By Jewish law, whenever a leper would come within a certain distance of others, they were required to announce their uncleaness and shout out, “Unclean! Unclean!”…in order to protect others from their diseased presence. Being a leper was a terrible, painful, and isolated experience.
So when Jesus offered these ten lepers healing that day, this was a very big deal! Jesus was literally giving them their lives back. And yet, even though 10 lepers were healed, only one leper, a hated Samaritan, returned to Jesus to give thanks. Why? Perhaps this marginalized person was more aware of what it meant to be an outcast, and so his healing hit home in a more personal way to him. Whatever it was, this one leper was starkly aware of his healing and thus wanted to express his gratitude to Jesus. The only one!
You know, in this time of coronavirus, as the whole world is suffering, I think it is sometimes very difficult to find things for which to be grateful. So, perhaps, this one leper can be a good example to us, reminding us that we may need to be open-minded and intentional and look diligently for the positive things and blessings that are still ours today…in spite of the pandemic.
What are some of those things you are grateful for today?
God, we cannot escape your love, and your desire for us to all that we can be in your Holy Name. Your love is like a blanket that covers us with comfort, strength, and care. Thank you for the blessings we enjoy, and for the gift of this new day. Help us to live it fully and thankfully. In your name we pray. Amen.
Focus for the Day: I will live today with gratitude.