The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Sermon - 13 October 2013 – Luke 17:11-19
St. Paul’s Memorial Church, Charlottesville, VA
God wants us to have an attitude of gratitude …
Jesus is on his journey from Galilee to Jerusalem. Here, he tells his disciples how important deep and authentic faith is. They would have known, and the hearers of Luke’s gospel would have know that lepers were outcasts from society. Just about any prolonged skin ailment would have rendered these men them ritually unclean, and labeled as “lepers.” It was also common thinking that folks believed that “leprosy” was infectious by touch, and thought they were possessed by evil spirits.
All ten acknowledge Jesus as who he is, “Master,” and so, they do have faith. They receive healing. The reason that Jesus sent them to the priests was so they could be restored to ritual purity, and restored to society. The priests would declare that they were now “clean” and free of the disease.
While all ten acknowledge Jesus as God, only one, a “Samaritan” a “foreigner” gives thanks to him. In some wonderful and strange way, the “Samaritan” has an attitude of gratitude that is deeper and richer than the other nine. He worships God differently.
So, the one who turns back does not turn back to be healed, but rather, that he realized that he is healed – and wants to offer gratitude. His awareness, and the growing gratitude in him are, presumably, what bring him to turn, to turn all the way around, 180 degrees, to offer thanks, eucharisto, praise, worship.