Those nine. You know, the lepers in Luke’s Gospel who didn’t seem to come back to give thanks to Jesus, after he cured them… or was it the fact-of-faith that rid them of the ravages of sin we all, sooner or later, succumb to? Perhaps Jesus, in his own unique way, simply reminded them of the Source of true healing. It would seem, at first glance, that only one, a foreigner at that, returned immediately to profess gratitude for wellness, the return of wholeness. What if – just what if – after visiting the priests, as told, what if they were afraid? Fearing that if they returned to Jesus, to offer thanks, that he might change his mind, tell them, “Sorry kids, the deals off.” Think about it; as humans we really struggle trusting that facts truly are facts; so much changes all the time. Or possibly, they simply forgot, as in great excitement we human beings are often bound to do. By the time they thought about it Jesus had moved along to other lands, busy attending those in need there.
So maybe we could be a little more understanding and forgiving of those nine. For, honestly now, how many times have we as “faithful followers” of the Christ read the parables, the sermon on the mount, the words and gifts of God’s glorious grace, all written and given for every one of us, and forgotten to pause (for only a mere moment) and say, “Thank you.”? Are we any less guilty, clean, whole or healed? Give thanks continually the Bible advises. Perhaps that is precisely what the story illuminates. A reminder that, no matter what, no matter who, God loves to be remembered; and quite possibly it may just be in the simple act of remembering that we all find salvation, like the thief on the cross at Jesus side whose only request was that he be remembered. If memory serves, I believe that Jesus promised him, “paradise today”.
Let’s take at least one learning from this story of Jesus showing compassion. Let’s pray for the remembrance of giving thanks to God for the beautiful blessings of healing and wholeness and forgiveness, given in all of it’s amazing ways and forms. Remembering, as often as we can, to be thankful… for life. Amen.