Thanksgiving and Praise
As he was entering a village, ten persons with leprosy met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
Lepers were desperate men. They were experiencing a living death. They were not allowed to live with their families, nor to pray in the Temple. But for all their problems somehow they learned about the merciful Jesus who could work wonders.
It is interesting to note how they addressed Jesus. ““Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” Only Luke uses this name, Master, for Jesus, The word in the Greek inspired text is Epistata whichcan be a military term like chief or commander, or more likely someone in charge. Only the Apostles address Jesus by this term. The only exception occurs in this text used by the lepers!
“Have mercy on us!” Their prayer is a beautiful and a powerful one in the New Testament. I have not noticed that this prayer was ever denied by Jesus in the Gospels! At the beginning of every Mass, we use it three times! To appeal to God’s mercy can work wonders not only for lepers but for the millions of people who participate in the Eucharist.
Jesus does not heal them right away as usual. He tells them to show themselves to the priests to declare they are cured. They start on their way before they are healed. This shows they had great faith in Jesus. It would be very embarrassing if they showed up unclean. “And as they were going, they were cleansed.”
“Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks (eucharisteō) to Him. And he was a Samaritan.”
In the Greek text we find this beautiful word eucharist for thanksgiving. It is used 38 times in Scripture. It means in Greek a “beautiful gift” that is acknowledged. Of course, the beautiful gift is Jesus Himself. That is the heart of Thanksgiving!
Fr. Bob Weiss, C.P. preaches Parish Missions and is a member of the Passionist Community in Louisville, Kentucky.