As we listen to the Bible, the names of people and places begin to remain in our memory. Today, for example, we may not remember Naaman, but we know the name of the Jordan River. It is where John the Baptist began to baptize and proclaim the Word of God. It is where Jesus was baptized.
Naaman is not Jewish. But he has heard that Elisha can cure him. When he washes in the Jordan, it is as if he was being washed as baptism washes our soul. The most important part of the story to remember is that he is a foreigner who came back to give thanks to God. This brings us to the Gospel of the Ten Lepers. One of them was also a foreigner. And it is this foreigner who also returns to give thanks to God.
Why did Jesus send them to the priests? It was the priests who would determine whether they had been healed. Perhaps we could say that the nine were only doing what Jesus said to do. They were on their way and did not recognize that they had been healed. The Samaritan would not go to the Jewish priests, he would go to his own priests, and they lived further away.
Another thought, the last few weeks we have been hearing readings where Jesus is eating with sinners, but the Pharisees and scribes were there trying to trap/catch Jesus.
The Jewish leaders did not want to accept Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus has left them and now has known the lepers. When He tells the healed lepers to show themselves to the priests, we must remember that these healed lepers go to the same Pharisees and scribes that Jesus has just left.
This puts the Pharisees in a difficult position. If they say that the lepers are healed, they are saying that Jesus is the healer, the Messiah. Before the Pharisees, we are trying to trap/catch Jesus. Now it is Jesus who has caught/trapped them.
I’ve often wondered if the nine men realized they had been healed. I wonder if the Pharisees told them they were healed. And I wonder why they didn’t return to give thanks.
We teach our children to give thanks when they receive a gift. I remember that the word Eucharist means thanksgiving. Did you remember to thank God today? Giving thanks means that we become a Eucharistic people. We become what we eat. Pray that we will all become Eucharistic people.
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen