Only one in ten came back to thank You, Jesus, for a healing that was a complete miracle. These men had become outcasts in their society. They stood at a distance and shouted ‘unclean’ because that’s what they were required to do by law. A person with leprosy was called ‘untouchable’, and could not approach another person; but had to keep their distance from uninfected people.
Leprosy was a disease that progressed once you were infected, so there was really no hope of ever being ‘cured’ or being able to participate in society again. Family, loved ones, friends, were all relinquished, as these lepers were put out into communities of their own. They would never again be able to hold their child, kiss their beloved, shake hands with a friend, or give a warm embrace to a family member. This disease brought a new, cruel way of living to those cursed by it.
So for this disease process to be cured, reversed, was an absolute miracle! For those ten men to once again enter society and be able to touch and be touched, changed every aspect of their lives completely.
I wonder then, why did only one turn and express his thanks? Were the other nine being obedient – going first to show the priest as You told them? Did they intend to come back later? Were they unsure the healing was real? Were they so filled with joy at the prospect of all it meant to be healed, that they forgot You, their Healer?
You point out that the one who returned was a foreigner. Perhaps that one did not feel worthy of a Jewish healing from a Jewish Master? Perhaps the others felt deserving of what they received?
I don’t know. But it does speak to my heart of how often I too, forget to thank You. I take for granted so many things until I am reminded like this. Or until I see someone who is worse off than me, or has bigger problems. Or until I lose something, and realize I wasn’t really grateful while I had it.
Father, help me begin every day with thanks and praise to You – for life, for breath, for energy to rise, for clothes to wear, food to eat, clear thinking to reason with, a home, transportation, loved ones, hope, faith, love in my life. Help me express my gratitude and thank You in word, in song, in praise, in the way I treat others, for the trials and the blessings in my life!
Let me always be like the one. Amen