Fr. Mike’s Homily for Wednesday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I (1)




Fr. Mike’s Homily for Wednesday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time Cycle I

Theme: Important lessons for our spiritual life

By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

Homily for Wednesday November 10 2021

Lk 17:11-19

As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met [him]. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

The Gospel today invites us to reflect on two important lessons that can be of great help in our spiritual life. The first lesson is on gratitude. There are ten lepers, and all of them are healed by Jesus. Calling from a safe distance, they cry out: “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” Jesus responds by simply telling them to go and show themselves to the priests. And, while they are on their way, they get cured. They continue on their way to see the priests, as stipulated in the Law of Moses. It is the priests who officially declares a cured leper to be “clean” and give him the authorization to legitimately return to life in society. A healed leper does not only regain health, but also his life, since he can now be reunited with his family and re-integrated into society.

Sadly, however, out of the ten who get cured, only one comes back to Jesus “glorifying God in a loud voice.” He falls down at the feet of the Lord and profusely thanks Him. The Gospel says “he was a Samaritan.” Most likely this is the factor why he cannot join the others in going to the priests, and instead returns to Jesus to thank and praise God. After all, being a Samaritan, he does not need the official recognition of the priests. The Gospel does not say whether the other nine came back to Jesus later on. But what is clear is the message of the Lord to the grateful Samaritan: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” All ten lepers are healed, but only one is saved.

God does not need our gratitude. On the contrary, giving thanks to Him greatly benefits us. The fourth Eucharistic Prayer beautifully puts it: “You have no need of our praise, yet our desire to thank you is itself your gift. Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to your greatness, but makes us grow in your grace.”

Furthermore, it can be observed that while afflicted with this dreaded disease and rejected by society, the ten lepers share the same misfortune. Hence, they do not mind their cultural and religious differences as Jews and Samaritans. They find common support in each other’s company. As it is always said, “misery loves company.” But now, cured and made clean by Jesus, the segregation returns. One of them goes back to Jesus to thank Him, but in the eyes of his fellow cured lepers who are Jews, he is still a Samaritan , an outcast.

This is something we need to think about. When everything is going well, we tend to ignore and neglect others. We even have the propensity to pigeonhole and judge people. It is only when disaster and misfortune strike that we find ourselves in the same boat, and we begin to realize we are no different from one another after all. Do we need to wait for such unfortunate events to happen before we begin to appreciate our common brotherhood?

The second point for reflection comes from the instruction of Jesus: “Go, show yourselves to the priests.ʺ This does not come as a surprise because it is what the Law of Moses says. But this instruction holds true until now. Jesus continually urges us: Go to the priests! Undoubtedly, some of us may take this lightly. After all, priests are just human like everybody else, weak and sinful.

Yet we need to seriously take this into consideration. We are all sinful, and it is only by going to Jesus that we can be cleansed of our sins. Except for the Blessed Mother, all the saints have also committed sins and needed to ask for forgiveness. They were all forgiven – and this is through the ministry of priests in the sacrament of Penance. So, the Lord enjoins everyone: “Go, show yourselves to the priests!”

St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, said, ʺGo to confession to the Blessed Virgin, or to an angel; will they absolve you? No. Will they give you the Body and Blood of Our Lord? No. The Holy Virgin cannot make her Divine Son descend into the Host. You might have two hundred angels there, but they could not absolve you. A priest, however simple he may be, can do it; he can say to you, ʺGo in peace; I pardon you.ʺ Oh, how great is a priest!ʺ

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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