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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Wednesday 32nd in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Wis 6:1-11): Hear, o kings, and understand; learn, you magistrates of the earth's expanse! Hearken, you who are in power over the multitude and lord it over throngs of peoples! Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High, who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels. Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you judged not rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God, terribly and swiftly shall he come against you, because judgment is stern for the exalted. For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test.

For the Lord of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, because he himself made the great as well as the small, and he provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends. To you, therefore, o princes, are my words addressed that you may learn wisdom and that you may not sin. For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy, and those learned in them will have ready a response. Desire therefore my words; long for them and you shall be instructed.
Responsorial Psalm: 81
R/. Rise up, o God, bring judgment to the earth.
Defend the lowly and the fatherless; render justice to the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the lowly and the poor; from the hand of the wicked deliver them.

I said: ‘You are gods, all of you sons of the Most High; yet like men you shall die, and fall like any prince’.
Verscicle before the Gospel (1Thess 5:18): Alleluia. In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Alleluia.

Gospel text (Lk 17,11-19): On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus was passing along the border between Samaria and Galilee, and as He entered a village, ten lepers came to meet him. Keeping their distance, they called to him, «Jesus, Master, have pity on us!». Then Jesus said to them, «Go and show yourselves to the priests». Now, as they went their way, they found they were cured.

One of them, as soon as he saw he was cleansed, turned back praising God in a loud voice, and throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave him thanks. This man was a Samaritan. «Was no one found to return and give praise to God but this alien?». And Jesus said to him, «Stand up and go your way; your faith has saved you».

«Throwing himself on his face before Jesus, he gave him thanks»

Fr. Conrad J. MARTÍ i Martí OFM
(Valldoreix, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Jesus passes by close to us so that we can actually relive the above mentioned passage in the shape of so many people relegated to an outer edge by our society, and who look at us Christians as their only possibility to find Jesus' love and goodness. In the days of the Lord, lepers were totally marginalized. In fact, those ten lepers met Jesus «as He entered a village» (Lk 17:12), as they were not allowed in the villages, nor could they get any close to people («keeping their distance, they called to him»).

With some imagination, each one of us can reproduce the image of those outcasts in our own society, who also have names and surnames, like we do: immigrants, drug addicts, wrongdoers, AIDS victims, unemployed, destitute... Jesus wants to heal them, to remedy their suffering, to solve their problems; and He expects our unselfish, free, efficient collaboration... for love.

We can also assume Jesus' lesson for us. For we are sinners and in need of forgiveness, we are beggars who depend totally on him. Would we be able to say like the leper «Jesus, Master, have pity on me!» (cf. Lk 17:13)? Do we know how to turn to Jesus with a profound and confident prayer?

Do we imitate the cleansed leper that goes back to Jesus thanking him out loud? In fact, only «one of them, as soon as he saw he was cleansed, turned back praising God in a loud voice» (Lk 17:15). Jesus finds the other nine missing: «Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?» (Lk 17:17). St. Augustine gave the following sentence: «‘Thanks God!’: nothing shorter can be said (...) or made more efficiently than with these words». Accordingly, how do we thank God for the great gift of our life, and that of our family; for the grace of the faith, the Holy Eucharist, the forgiveness of sins...? Is it not true that quite often we do not thank him for the Eucharist, even though we may be frequently participating of it? The Eucharist is, no doubt, our best daily experience.