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Matthew’s account of Jesus’ curing of the ten lepers with only one returning to praise Him loudly is always moving, and a commentary on human behavior in those times, or our’s. It is a prominent part of the October 12-13 liturgy.
What jumped out at me in this hearing was the passage where they cured leper gave thanks.
The leper personally thanks Jesus for the change in his life, his being, his future.
In what might be a strange connection, I revisit Jesus’ parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector:
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—greedy, dishonest, adulterous—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’ But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
My read on this passage is the sincere admittance of sin by a very unpopular fellow, but, perhaps a gesture of thanks for being imperfect, but being loved by God.
The young adults in our circle who are recently married, or have some experience under their belts have learned, or are learning, that daily life is filled with plenty of “thank you” and “I love you” times, but many “I’m sorry” moments. How each couple handles this situation is, of course, theirs to figure out. But, I believe that “sorry” can be joined with a “thank you” for sharing a point of view.
The message of “I’m sorry” and “thank you” may have life-altering destinations.
It’s a very long story, but my discernment journey as a Dominican novice was a difficult one, as I was torn between “the world”, which I missed, and the “calling” of religious life.
The summer of 1973, as I worked at a summer camp operated by the order in Upper Michigan, I had to make that choice as I was called on to listen, as I had not listened before, to a young friend who, in her own loss of her fiancé in a car crash was in her own painful search for answers. One day, we sat, talked, cried, listened, and prayed.
That night, I wandered around the ground, in the dark, filled with the unknown.. ”God, why are you presenting this to me? Why are you entrusting me with this soul’s pain?” I quickly realized then it wasn’t God pointing to me to do something. I asked, as an imperfect person, for a direction…the way. And, that way was being in the world, though not of it.
I know Marie did meet someone and did marry and has had a family. I never had the chance to say “thank you” though. When I wonder at God’s gifts given an imperfect man, I say a silent prayer for her, for so much good that has come to this sinner.
Image: Seven Roberge, Flickr