On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” Luke 17:11-19
Many of us have never been exposed to leprosy and cannot imagine the stigma attached to the disease. The people were outcasts, feared and rejected by all. They were isolated from their families and separated from all they hold dear. We still have people in our society that are treated this way. We shun those who make us uncomfortable, as if we can catch their weirdness, disfigurement or difference.
Jesus heals ten men who have suffered terribly. In their excitement they run to the people they were missing. They fly to their children, their parents and their loved ones. Exiled for so long the only thing they can think of is home. One turns and offers thanks and hears the savior of the world declare him faithful and beloved. Although they were all beloved and healed, the foreigner who gave thanks received an extra reward. The stranger knew his exile well, and was grateful for the blessed release. God invites us to engage our faith by being thankful for the healing and release that we have been given.
Today I ask God to help me be grateful. For all the healing and forgiveness we have received may we be ever thankful. May we receive a full measure of God's grace and love as we turn to remember God's actions for us. May our gratitude become our way of life so others may see God working in us today.