Today’s gospel has such a rich message for us, a message about faith, a message that might just change our lives if truly understood.
As the 10 lepers began to approach Jesus they stated “have Pity on us.”.
And what does Christ do? Him simply says. “Go show yourselves to the priest.” He doesn’t say that he has healed them, he doesn’t mix dirt and water and apply a healing mud to their rotting bodies, he doesn’t even lay his hands upon them. He simple tells them to go and show themselves to the priests.
To understand the complete message here, lets recall a few earlier verses from the gospel, actually only 4 sentences prior, when the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith." And The Lord replied, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to (this) mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.”
This message as you will soon see really defines our faith.
How many of us have wished, maybe even prayed for more faith? How many of us have thought, “if I only had greater faith my life would be less stressful?”
How many of us have thought, “if only I had greater faith I could change some of the things in my life that are holding me back.”
How many of us have thought… “If Only I had greater faith?”
In the gospel, the 10 lepers are sent on their way to show themselves to the priests at the temple, seems simple enough, but what you might not realize is that one of the lepers is a Samaritan, a foreigner. And at the gate of the temple there was a sign that read:
“Any Foreigners who go beyond this wall will have only himself to blame for his ensuing death.”
So what do you think was going through the mind of the Samaritan when Christ directed him to go and show himself to the temple priests? I can bet that he might of thought, “what - I will be killed!” I can imagine the disappointment, the frustration felt by the Samaritan. He was asking for pity, he was asking for help. And Here he is, an outcast due to his lepersy, an outcast for being a foreigner, and what does Jesus ask him to do, the impossible!
Yet, did we hear of any rebuttal from the Samaritan……. No!
So here is the message, the message that really can answer our question about faith. It would have been easy for the Samaritan to think of all the obstacles that would have prevented him from doing as Jesus had asked.
It would have been easy for the Samaritan to stand frozen in fear. It would have been easy for the Samaritan to let disappointment overtake him. Yet – there was “something” he could do…..
He could simply go!
He chose to not focus on the obstacles, not on the fear, but rather focus on what he could do. He could “Go.” Life isn’t always about understanding the whole picture, and exactly knowing how things with turn out. It is about following Christ.
It is about taking that first step. I think we have all heard that old saying “Even the longest of Journeys begin with just one step.” Life isn’t about letting our fears direct our lives, or placing more emphasize on the obstacles, it is about seeing how we can act, and doing something. We all have faith; we all have faith the size of a mustard seed. It isn’t great faith that we need to make a change in our lives, or even the world, it is the understanding that we are to act upon our faith.
Maybe some of you can possibly relate to the Samaritan as he approached Christ.
Beaten down, disillusioned, tired, and about ready TO GIVE UP. Maybe you are dealing with problems or circumstances that make you feel that way. Maybe it’s because of the economy. Maybe it’s a relationship. Maybe it’s a health issue. Maybe it’s an addiction.
Whatever your particular situation, you might be saying “all these things are against me. I don’t stand a chance.”
Yet – It doesn’t take huge faith – great faith – to see a miracle in our lives. It just takes one step. It takes a response to Christ. Christ is just telling us to Go… If there are problems in our lives and we are stuck, maybe it is because we have chosen to dwell on what we can’t do, instead of what can be done. As Christians we are prayerful people, but we are also people of action. Christ never intended us to be stagnant. He directed us to Love God with all our heart, our mind, and our soul. And love our neighbor as ourselves.
This word “Love” is meant to be a verb, and action word, a directive. He also told us to make disciples of all nations. As Christians we are to be a force of change in this world. It is through our faith, even faith the size of a mustard seed that shows us the possibilities, that gives us the courage, that empowers us. Our life is a journey, and not unlike the Samaritan, as we take that first step, as we follow Christ’s direction in our lives, the healing begins.
It is in response to his call and following him that we grow. We grow in holiness, we grow in compassion, we grow in our faith….
What is important is that we listen to God, to Christ, to the Holy Spirit, and that we are a people of action….. What is it in your life that Christ is asking you to act upon? Are you willing to just take that first step?
Can’t you hear him saying…. Go, just go! Trust me! I Love You!