Gratitude#1. “The Thankful Leper.”

Gratitude#1. “The Thankful Leper.”

I did not think it unusual to have attended a Catholic School as a child, until years later an American girl remarked, “You attended a parochial school?” Most of my later schooling was done at state schools, so I did understand the difference. I did try to explain to her that, though considered ‘narrow-minded’ by others, that was not the way we saw ourselves. In fact, we believed that any schooling done beyond our gates was a complete waste of time.

The Jews of Jesus’ time shared those sentiments. But not only in education, in anything done “beyond their gates.” Every aspect of foreign life was beneath them.

It was at that Matata Catholic School that one of the nuns introduced me to the account of “The 10 Lepers” of Luke 17:11-19. I had no idea of what a Samaritan was, but I knew about lepers.

Moreover, every little Catholic boy believed that those pennies collected by the nuns eventually ended up helping lepers. We had seen the black and white pictures, and that was enough to strike fear and childlike generosity into the heart.

As the nun spoke, my mind was watching the one leper leave the others and double back to thank Jesus. I wondered what he looked like before and after. Those black and white pictures were changing before my eyes.

The scene grows in wonder as Jesus asks, “But the nine—where are they? Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?”

If anyone should have been running to give glory to God, it should have been the nine Jews. God had restored their health and their lives.

Ironies abound in life. While leprous these nine Jews didn’t have a problem standing with this their Samaritan counterpart. However, now restored and “back in the gates,” they would not have acknowledged even having been in his presence.

Our level of gratitude is in direct proportion to the amount of glory we give God.

Praise God that we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ.

John Staiger


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