Get up and go on your way!

Scripture     Luke 17:11-19


                                   Then Jesus said, were not the ten made clean?

                                 But the other nine, where are they?

                               Was none of them found to return and give praise to God

                             except this foreigner?

                                 Then Jesus said to the Samaritan, “‘Get up and go on your way;

                                 Your faith has made you well.”



“Return and give thanks.” The Gospel chosen for this Thanksgiving weekend is that of Jesus healing ten lepers and only one of them returns to give thanks. We can imagine those joyful, possibly tearful, humble cries of “thank you, oh thank you!” Such a miracle of physical transformation from the ugliness and disfigurement of the horrible disease of leprosy! But something more happened in this encounter with Jesus, the Healer. First, there was the knowing that he must seek out and cry out for a healing from this Jesus as he was passing through their village.



Then came the act of obedience to fulfill what he said to him … “Go and show yourself to the priests.” And as his simple faith moved into action, the cure happened. Along with the outer physical skin restoration came an inner miracle of a conscious connection with the Divine Healer that stirred awake some newness of life and union deep within his heart. He was on fire, he was burning with love, and before he knew it, he was returning to find Him.  Jesus looked at the man who was singing out his thanks to God. He said. “But weren’t there ten who were healed, where are the other nine?” Then Jesus told him. “You can go now; your faith has saved you and made you better.”



What a profound grace that must have been for all these ten lepers. But we might pause today to question why did only one man return? It could be that the other nine did not come back and say thank you for the same reasons people do not thank God today. Perhaps one leper simply forgot to say thank you and another may have been too shy. Maybe one was too proud. Perhaps another leper was excited about being healed or lost his way and could not find Jesus again. It could be one was too busy, there was lot of living to catch up on.



One leper may not have come back to say thank you because the priest told him he did not have to. This man always did what others told him, without thinking for himself. The seventh leper may not have said thank you because he did not understand what had happened to him. The eighth leper may not have gone back to see Jesus because he simply saw no reason to do so. He had never said thank you to anyone for anything.



Perhaps the last leper wandered away so happy, he hardly noticed where he was going. Only one leper of the ten saw how Jesus heals the whole person. As happens so often, the others took the gift God gave them for granted. God often gives us just what we need. It might be worth reflecting this week on how often  we say thank you – to God, to others.



The underlying message is clear that simply saying “thank you” is more than good manners. It is good spirituality! We all know the feeling when someone says ‘Thank you’ to us after we have given them a gift  -  the gift could be of our time and presence; it could be the sharing of a meal; or it could be offering them something special that they really wanted. The giving and the receiving become a part of the one action of overflowing love and both persons are united in some mysterious yet almost tangible flow of grace and energy. It draws forth happiness and even more happiness when it is reciprocal. This ‘returning thanks’ feeds off a deeper inner Divine Source that gives one enough grace and energy now to ‘get up and go on with one’s  life.’ Gratitude makes one well. For the giving and the receiving set up a reciprocal relationship between the giver and the receiver and ‘this life’ keeps on growing and growing. It brings forth health and reunion in community.



Today we are in desperate need of a cure from the ‘leprosy’ that alienates, separates and isolates the ones who are different from us, from interaction within the family, the community, the church. Those that seem to have to stay to the margins or live on the edges must long for reunification and healing. We can start to observe how the very ‘leprosy’ that causes this estrangement and isolation is our collective sin. Jesus is still passing through our towns and cities today …inviting persons of faith to be healed and be well. The miracle of Jesus’ healing action is bringing forth a possibility of peaceful ‘communion’ with all our brothers and sisters. There seems to be a spontaneous enlightenment that is creating a flow of life-energy in the Body of Christ and divisions and barriers are breaking down and new partnerships are being formed. Our Thanksgiving Gospel ends with a strong missioning statement: “Get up and go on your way!”



In our healed state, we recognize more clearly that we experience both abundance and lack. They exist simultaneously in our lives, as parallel realities. The ‘Go on your way and be well” implies that the healed, restored individuals will return back into the community with a more alert consciousness. Choice matters. It is always our conscious choice which mental message we will attend to… when we choose not to focus on what is missing from our lives but are grateful for the abundance that’s present - love, health, family, friends, work, the joys of nature and personal pursuits that bring us pleasure – then the wasteland of illusion seems to fall away and we experience heaven on earth. We already have everything we need. Whenever we are appreciative, we are filled with a sense of well-being and swept up by the feeling of joy and abundance.



It has been stated that: “You will simply not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. For you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance  recommends the practice of each day writing  in  a Gratitude Journal 5 things that you are grateful for. It seems that when we become more fully aware that our success and well-being are due in large measure to the loyalty, helpfulness, and encouragement we have received from others, our desire grows to pass on similar gifts. Gratitude spurs us on to prove ourselves worthy of what others have done for us. The spirit of gratitude is a powerful energizer. That is why Jesus says to the healed man, "Get up and go on your way.” The ‘going on your way' will most likely lead to an increase and a multiplication of kind deeds flowing from the grace of compassion and generosity he has received.   



This is the fullness of life in the kingdom that Jesus is proclaiming. Your faith - that mustard seed faith- that you put into action each and every day can make this ‘wellness’ come into a reality in your situation, no matter how challenging or afflicted it may appear. Start being grateful, FOR EVERYTHING, Jesus seems to be saying and watch love and community grow amongst you.



Carrying Grace        Let all that is within me cry, thank you. “If the only prayer you say in your life is thank you, that would suffice.”   - Meister Eckhart





#5 Mark Dickinson 2010-10-13 02:21
... His Love.
#4 Mark Dickinson 2010-10-13 02:21
A truly inspiring message from Jesus!
Reflect for a moment .... although the writer of the gospel does not tell us, assume that the other 9 lepers were of Judean nationality (certainly a possibility). Only the one man was a Samaritan .. and as a Samaritan, he was doubly an outcast. First as a foreigner and then as a leper. And yet, as the 'lowest of the group', he is the one who understands the deepest of them all -- the magnitude of God's love.
So often in our lives, it is during those darkest moments, when we feel the furthest from God ... when we feel we are the worst of the outcasts, the most broken, the most rejected -- that God brings His Presence the closest to us. Do we not need (sometimes) to stand in those darkest moments, isolated and alone .... to truly understand that God is standing right beside us? And that if we only put our trust into God's hands, then, just like the leper, we'll know, and we'll see, that we are never far from His Healing, His Wholeness, His Love.
#3 arletteh 2010-10-11 14:47
The thankful leper saw Jesus as a person. There was an unextinguishabl e relationship formed, for he had been radically teansformed!. God was here incarnate! God was here as a human being!Oh! how healing our relationship with Jesus can be! How high1 How deep is our being, found in God,in Christ!How deep our gratitude is every time we discover yet another layer of God's mystery, and that mystery in us!Yet another layer of love revealed to which to surrender! And yes! How grateful we are for those who have been part of our discoveries!,wh o have inspired, nurtured, guided us!Open our eyes ever more to what has been given, oh Spirit of the Risen One!
#2 arletteh 2010-10-10 23:00
Jesus indicated a place to give thanks: with the priest in the temple. The Samaritan who was healed gives thanks at the time of his healing :it is the liturgy of the heart.We need them both. Oh, that the two may be one in utter sincerity!We then have room for our neighbour's ways!
#1 amaladoss8 2010-10-10 14:38
we need to be grateful for all that happens in our life,this parable is quite interesting to remind us of this great virtue of thanking.

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