Memorial of Saint Josaphat, Bishop and Martyr

Yesterday we considered the importance of serving Christ first, of recognizing Him as our master so that we may welcome Him all the more “under our roof.” Today Jesus teaches us the importance of keeping a clean, orderly house.

We are told of ten lepers, people stricken with a dreadful disease. They beg Jesus for healing and He grants it, and they go off. Only one returns to thank Him for what He has done; yet why is it that Jesus says—after having already healed him—“Stand up and go; your faith has saved you?” Because for the other nine, only their bodies were cleansed; their souls remained diseased.

There is another moment in Jesus’ ministry that illustrates this view more clearly. In criticizing the scribes and Pharisees He says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.” (Mt. 23-25) Jesus desires not only to heal our infirmities, to satisfy our physical needs, but He desires a deeper healing: the purification of our soul. For these ten lepers they asked of Jesus what they believed they needed: cleansing from disease, which Jesus granted. He did this not only out of pity, but to invite them to seek a deeper cleansing from the spiritual leprosy of sin: yet only one leper was moved by gratitude to return to Him. Seeing this gratitude, this receptivity to Jesus in the foreigner’s heart, He was able to cleanse the man’s soul of his sins. The gratitude of this man shows that his “house” was in order and he was prepared to receive Christ in a way his brethren were not.

Let us learn from the grateful leper and recognize that our need for Jesus goes beyond our immediate wants but penetrates to the very depths of our being. Be grateful, be humble, that our reception of Christ may not be a brief meeting on the road but a deepening of a life lived in true communion with Him.

November 12th, 2014