ByziMom Considers: One Grateful Leper
The 28th Sunday After Pentecost
From a Mom's Perspective
Luke 17: 12-19 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”
When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”And as they went, they were cleansed.
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I must confess that this essay is not my first draft. I just cut the entire thing and am starting over because I realized that I had completely missed the point of this week’s Gospel reading. I must admit that at the outset, I read the passage and immediately thought, well, that’s about right. Ten lepers begged Jesus for help, He helped all of them, yet only one of them even came back to say thank you. If anyone knows how it feels to be in this unappreciated position it’s a mother, right?
“I have an assignment due tomorrow morning and I want you to proofread it for me!”
“I have a presentation, and I need my shirt ironed now!”
“My fish is sick, come take a look, or he might die!”
“Did you remember I need 27 cupcakes for school tomorrow… vegan, gluten-free, and no peanut butter!
“My best friend is upset and when I texted her she just left me on “read” and won’t answer me back, Mom! What do I do?!!
When Jesus met the ten lepers who begged Him to help them and make them clean again, He had compassion and love for each one of them because He knew them each by name, they were all made in His own image. So, He lovingly healed them, all ten. Yet Jesus felt no hesitation in working this miracle for them, even knowing that only one of these ten children of God would return and thank Him. If Jesus could only get ten percent of those he helped to thank Him for it, how can we moms expect any better? This was my angle at first. Poor me.
As I was wrapping up the conclusion to my essay I came to the realization that I had it all wrong. I wasn’t the Jesus figure in this story...if I’m being honest, I am the leper.
Even on our most hectic and unappreciated day we never think to stop and consider the fact that we are breathing. We can actually rise from our beds and DO the tasks at hand. The earth still spins and the sun still rises. The rain falls and plants grow for our food. For all this, I really should remember to thank you, God!
God created the Earth in all its splendor for each of us to enjoy. We all partake in the beauty of a sunrise, catch our breath at the sound of a thunderstorm, appreciate a cool breeze on a hot summer night, or catch a glimpse of a deer as it wanders past our window. The gift of the animals, birds, and bees that reveal so much about their creator to us are marvelous if we would only stop to notice them. Yet how many of us pause to whisper, "Thank you,
How many times during the day are we “lucky” enough to have food in the pantry to prepare for dinner? Enough money in the account to pay both the mortgage and the electric bill? Clothes that actually fit? A good report at our medical appointment? Thank you, God!
Are we grateful for the Church? For Divine Liturgy? For the gift of faith? Baptism? Do we think to give proper thanksgiving after receiving the greatest gift of all, the gift of unification with the Savior in the Eucharist? Allow us, Lord, to add our voices to the number of those who make up the ten percent and humbly and profoundly thank you, God! When we behold the miracle of new life by entering into our awesome, motherly covenant with God and consenting to conceive, carry, bear, and nourish our children from our bodies and souls with the help of His grace, we become a more refined image of our God. We are transformed by this, bearing constant witness by the simple virtue of our motherhood to the depth of His Love. Are we mindful of this great gift? Do we recognize the grace we receive and the dignity we assume by it sufficiently? For the gift of holy motherhood, no matter how demanding or overwhelming it may be, thank you, God!
Yes, I am indeed the leper. I come to God in prayer constantly asking to be healed of this and that during my day, pestering Him with my troubles and difficulties. I see spots and stains on my soul, and on the souls of those around me if I am being truthful, that keep me from contentment and peace and beg God to just heal them and make everything clean again. Although I won’t stop asking Him for these graces, I lament that I don’t notice the things He has already cleaned or has preserved from decay already. I need to notice them. I’ll make that effort during this Nativity Fast so that I might be worthy to be numbered among that blessed ten percent!