Friday, October 8, 2010

Gospel Text for Sunday, October 10th

Luke 17:11-19

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between 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 made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then 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."

Sorry for the lateness of this post - I had dental surgery and was not up to the computer.

Questions for engaging the text:

- What do I observe" What am I seeing" Does this passage raise questions for me?
- Is anything attracting me, drawing my attention, or repulsing me?
-What response is emerging within me? What is my response to what is attracting me?***
-In what ways might I specifically act on my insights in the world
I really want to hear from you. Thank you for clicking on "Comments" below and adding your responses.
Grace and Peace, Debra


  1. The first thing I notice is the ten lepers did not ask Jesus to heal them, they asked for mercy. And Jesus did not offer healing, he sent them to “to show themselves” to the priests and on the way they were made clean. Which makes me ask the question, what constitutes healing? What is healed?

    By the time the lepers showed themselves to the priests they were clean and therefore eligible to be judged by the priests to be ritually acceptable and eligible to reenter the community. Mercy for the ten lepers meant reconciliation of relationships and restitution of life in community.

    Which makes me think about the people we don’t want to touch, the lepers in our world today? In 2008 in the USA one in every eighteen adult males was incarcerated or on probation (the highest number in the world). A disproportionate forty-four percent of them were black men. In India 160 million Untouchables (women, men and children)– who choose now to call themselves Dalits – are “shunned, insulted, banned from temples and higher caste homes, made to eat and drink from separate utensils in public places, and, in extreme, but not uncommon cases, are raped, burned, lynched, and gunned down” because they were born into the lowest social caste.
    (see )

    The judgment against these people is that they are not acceptable for making personal relationships either because of socially unacceptable behavior or casualty of birth. In both cases, we, society, the ruling classes are denying the outcast’s personhood.

    Let me suggest that when Jesus encountered the lepers he looked past their physical and social conditions and their particular behaviors and saw their full and unblemished personhood. And this is what was shown to the priests – the gatekeepers of the community. It was the priests’ eyes that were healed – that were opened to see the personhood of the most despised citizens so that like Jesus they could be merciful and welcome the untouchables back into community. The kingdom of heaven is like a banquet to which everyone is invited – no exceptions.

    O Lord, this is very hard, especially when I look at people who have committed violent crimes and I feel afraid for my self and others. Please open my eyes to see as you see and give me the will to act as you would.

  2. Perhaps it is because today I re-experienced a division in relationship that cannot be reconciled; cannot be brought to full community, even though, after today's conversation we can be civil. Perhaps it is because this text sends me back to the time when I was made an outcast from my primary community, which does not fully embrace me still. It must be these sorrows of my soul that make me see the division in which this story concludes. Before they were healed these 10 were in community: Jews and Samaritans together in their suffering and exile. In common need with one voice they cry to Jesus for mercy. He responds, and they find the healing that will restore them to their respective communities. But, they go back to their division: Jews vs. Samaritans. Even Jesus cannot overcome this separation - yet! So, I, who am a foreigner, for if there is any who are foreigners, then I am one too; I who am a foreigner will give praise to God for the healing I have received, and for the healing others have received. And I will wait in hope for the day when all divisions will cease.