Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Christ Restoring Health to the Ten Lepers

Luke 17: 11-19

Here is an icon of Jesus healing the lepers. Only four of the ten are shown. Notice how the men come to Jesus in a disposition of great need: bent over and with arms and hands out-stretched and open. These poor fellows hardly own clothing. Don't they represent humanity in its most vulnerable place?  Again, Jesus is in motion and with his own blessing hand at the ready. How eager Jesus is to touch and connect - both of which the purity laws strictly forbade. The rules required lepers to stay out of villages, and so we see the mountains in the background. Perhaps these are hills in which the lepers lived with only one another for company. Opposite the mountains we see the borderland village Jesus entered and where the encounter took place. Wearing a short beard, Peter is behind Jesus, looking away. The other younger apostle has a quizzical look about him. Perhaps as they saw Jesus reach out to the despised lepers the apostles were confounded and asked, "What's he up to now!?"

In that nameless village ten lepers were healed,
yet only one returned to give thanks and praise to God.
With that one faithful foreigner I will thank Christ the Healer:
Heaven's interface with humankind.

Walking in the borderland between Samaria and Galilee,
Christ is in hostile territory.
Let us go then to meet him in that inner place,
where hostility and estrangement reside.

Beholding Christ some distance away,
the lepers called out, Jesus! Master! Pity!
Oh, let us entreat Christ as well -
that he would draw near to heal us of our own sorrow and loss.

Let us be done with an unmindful way.
Yes, let us live wisely and return to Christ the Light,
seeing him face to face in wonder,
gratitude and joy!

Beholding God's mercies and presence in our lives,
let us join the one grateful stranger.
Turning back to praise God at the top of our voices,
prostrate before Christ-God, let us thank him!

Let us pay great attention to the Lord's insruction,
Stand up and go on your way!
On my feet I set out in friendship with Christ:
I am an eleventh healed-wonder!

Samaritans were heretics, enemies and strangers:
yet Christ discerned faith in this restored man.
O Jesus, who knows me so well,
be pleased where you find believing in me!

On his way to Jerusalem when he met the lepers,
the Lord healed them of their disease.
Let us not forget Christ, who from the cross near Jerusalem,
heals us of sin and all spiritual sickness.

In ignorance and hiding I have become a foreigner to God.
But Christ is not scandalized and neither should I be.
Yes, full of joyful tears I cry out:
Oh true God, thank you for your kind mercies.

In meeting the Samaritan-leper made well,
Christ the Lord asked, Where are the other nine?
O Jesus, what question do you ask of me?
Grant I'd not hide from the sound of your voice.


  1. It seems so unbelieveable that only one of the nine came back to thank Jesus. But how often do we remember to thank Him for all of our blessings? Let us not be guilty of the same thing as those nine lepers. God heals us every day.

  2. Here is a question. I read this and ask Christ to give me a clean heart, as he cleaned the lepers of their disease. But when I go out s Jesus instructed, it is so easy to gather up the sinfulness again. How do we keep the darkness away? Constant prayer? Confession? I am thankful to God every day, but we are human. Must we be asking for constant healing? I read this and feel the great love that God has for us. But sad at the same time for my unworthiness. Is it not easier to live unaware of the evil in our hearts? Like many people do? I almost envy them.

  3. I used to make myself sick trying to be an angel. Jesus is delighted with whatever and all goodness he finds in us. He sees us as he did on the day our conception, our birth, our Baptism and First Communion Days. He doesn't change his opinion of us by the day or hour. A mother doesn't love her little children less because they need a diaper change. I grew up seven miles from the Atlantic Ocean. If I went to the beach, even in the winter, buttoned up and with my pants legs tucked into my socks, I came away covered with sand. It's like that. We don't go through any day without the world's "stuff" sticking to us - even involuntarily. Cynicism, ingratitude, haste, doubts, wrong calls on people, living in ignorance. Dust off and carry on! We're useless to Jesus when we live in discouragement.