Liturgy: Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost - the Ten Lepers

August 17, 2018
Source: District of the USA

The Church takes for today's Epistle a passage from St. Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians, the subject of which is faith in Jesus Christ.

This is a faith which works by charity and which makes us, like Abraham of old, put our hope in this divine Redeemer. 

For it is by this faith, manifested in good works and trust in God, that souls, covered with the leprosy of sin, are cured, as we are reminded in today's Gospel.

The ten lepers, who in some sense stand for the transgressions of men against the Ten Commandments, see from afar their divine Healer, and put their trust in Him. "Master, have mercy on us." Their faith issues in works, for when our Lord puts them to the test, telling them: "Go show yourselves to the priests," they obey without hesitation and are cured on the way.

But the cure is only confirmed in the case of one of them who returns to Jesus to express his thanks. "And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God; and he fell on his face before His feet, giving thanks." And Jesus said to him: "Arise, go thy way, for thy faith hath made thee whole."

The Gospel narrative also foretells the rejection of the Jews who were ungrateful toward Him who came to cure them, while the Gentiles have been faithful. For among the ten lepers, nine were Jews and only one was not. The nine," says St. Augustine, " swollen with pride, thought they would humiliate themselves by giving thanks, whereas by not doing so they are reproved and rejected from the unity which exists in the number ten (there were ten lepers), while the only one who returns to give thanks is praised by the Church.