The miracle of healing of the ten lepers, is generally perceived as an exposition of the importance of gratitude in our lives. There is however another aspect I would like to stress today. The essential piece for its understanding lays in Christ’s words addressed to the cured Samaritan returning to offer his gratitude for the healing: And He said unto him, Arise, go your way: your faith has made you whole” (Luke 17:19)
The other nine, ungrateful, lepers did not hear the same words, save a bitter reproof from Christ. They were not called “whole”, like the Samaritan, because they lacked a crucial virtue the Samaritan exhibited: faith.
Without faith, which is recognizing and trusting the power of God, we are not whole, something is missing. If we don’t recognize Christ as the only driving force in our lives, despite our honest efforts, we are lost without a compass and cannot advance, but we are stuck, running in circles getting nowhere.
I read in a recent scientific paper that if man does not have a point of reference he is condemned to walk in circles. Their experiment showed that those who walk under a cloudy sky move in circles and cross their own paths repeatedly without noticing. Others, who can see the Sun are able to walk in straight lines, except for when it is obscured by clouds. It looks like lost people double back on themselves unless they have a marker, such as the Sun or Moon, to guide their way.
In a similar fashion the nine lepers got lost in the cloud of their self-righteousness and missed the reward that was greater than their bodily healing. The Samaritan however found his reference point, Christ, the Sun of righteousness and turned, walking toward Him, ultimately regaining his wholesomeness and entering in communion with God.
Our own lives are also deeply obscured by the great cloud of secularism dawning on us and we are often lost without anyone to guide us. So we wonder around in life, going in circles, asking ourselves if there will ever be a destination, if our journey through life is not probably pointless. It is difficult to find our way if we can barely see occasional rays of faith shyly beaming on our ungrateful and proud society.
We all need Christ as our reference point, as our true North. In Him we discover both the journey and the destination. The path might be difficult at times, we might have to cross rivers of suffering, valleys of sorrow, mountains of procrastinations, but is the right path because we can clearly see Christ at the end of it calling us: “Well done, good and faithful servant; […] enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:23)