The reflection on today’s Gospel is one that I was struck by. Thus, I have decided that I am going to re-type it up here for all of you to see. The Gospel passage is from Luke 17:11-19. First below is the Gospel to refresh your memory.
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”
The reflection is by John Janaro. He is a professor emeritus of theology and the author of “Never Give Up: My Life and God’s Mercy.”
What Keeps the Lepers Going
This disease is not who I am. The recognition of this is essential, but the translation of this judgement into a disposition of the heart requires a continual effort. It requires prayer. I am not entirely healed, which means I must live my relationship with God in the recognition that he wills the cloud to remain in some measure, as part of his loving plan for my life.
By God’s grace I have found that depression can be transformed into an awareness of my total dependence on God. I must beg him continually to deepen my awareness of my need for him. The good news, of course, is that he is here to meet that need, that dependence that really is who I am. Jesus Christ has untied my whole life to his. He is here, in every circumstance, in every difficulty. The cloud says, “I am nothing.” Humility says, “I am nothing without you.”
I noted above that depression can become a context for growing in love. But I don’t grow in love simply by figuring this out. It is possible to affirm, as a kind f external idea, that “God loves me” while at the same time being plunged into the cloud. I could write a brilliant theological treatise on the love of God for every human person and still be afflicted and crushed with the sense of being worthless. To grow in love is to grow in the heart.
I can grow because, in fact, Jesus really is here. He takes the initiative. He knows the depths of my sorrow, and he enters into me right there, where I think I am most alone. If I am talking to him (prayer), it is because he is already here. And he knows the language of the heart. He hears and understands my secret cry before I even know that I have made it. He answers, and he promises that he is not going to give up on my. I must never give up on him.
I sense that the cloud is not so big, because – after all – I am rather small.
“You, O God, are good.” And the nothingness of me is filled with the goodness of God. that is how it should be…
“Jesus, make me good. Make me holy. Make me yours.”
I think the reflections says it all…there is nothing else for me to say. Only this: that we must prayer for each other on our journeys of faith.