Dear brothers and sisters, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
A Prayerful Request
Leprosy in Biblical times was a terrible thing. It was a dreaded disease. The Levitical prescriptions about lepers state, “The garments of one afflicted with a scaly infection shall be rent and the hair disheveled and the mustache covered. The individual shall cry out, “Unclean, unclean!” As long as the infection is present, the person shall be unclean. Being unclean, that individual shall dwell apart, taking up residence outside the camp” (Leviticus 13:45-46). This was the plight of the ten lepers that entreated Jesus to have pity on them. They were courageous to have taken such a bold step in making the prayerful request.
There is an argument that can be made for the ten lepers. They had some level of faith. Firstly, they showed courage and prayerfully entreated Jesus Christ, “Master! Have pity on us.” Secondly, they listened to Jesus Christ and obeyed His words and instructions, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” They followed Jesus Christ’s words, and on their way, they realized they had been cleansed and healed. Of course, there is the manifestation of divine miracles through obedience to the Word of God, Jesus Christ, the God-made man. We recall that the Blessed Virgin Mary told the servants at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, “Do whatever He tells you” (Jn. 2:5). This is a lesson for us. We must learn to prayerfully call on Jesus with courage in the face of adversity and recognize Him as our deliverer and healer. Most importantly, we must be willing to do whatever He tells us to do.
Being Thankful/Giving Thanks, An Act of Prayer
Upon noticing that he had been healed, one of the lepers, the Samaritan, came back to give thanks to Jesus Christ, another act of prayer. Spiritual writers talk about different forms of prayers—prayer of Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Petition /Supplication (ACTS). One would say that the nine lepers who did not come back were stuck in the prayer of petition/supplication, just like many of us do today. Some Christians have the erroneous view that prayer is only about petitioning and asking for one favor or the other. They never show appreciation to God, even when those favors were granted.
However, the Samaritan leper who came back to give thanks to Jesus Christ taught us the importance of thankfulness. Being thankful to God is an act of prayer. Gratitude to God opens the door for worship, honor, and adoration of God. Being appreciative of God is an expression of our love and faith in God. In expressing faith, we are stepping outside of ourselves and calling attention (to ourselves and others) to what is great about God and how God has done so much in our lives. Talking about the Samaritan leper, Luke said, “realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus (prayer of worship and adoration), and thanked Him (Prayer of thanksgiving).” Finally, Jesus said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
Our prayer life should go beyond petitioning to adoring, thanking, glorifying, and worshiping God. We should be appreciative of God’s benevolence in our daily lives. It is an expectation for us, and we should know that God notices our failure to fulfill that expectation. Because the other nine lepers did not come back, Jesus asked the thankful Samaritan, “Ten were cleansed, were they not?” If we fail in our expectation to show gratitude to God, He might ask us in words such as these, “I did something good for you, did I not? I healed you of your sickness, did I not? I led you safely to your destination, did I not? The implication of the question is, why have you not come to show appreciation to the one who made those things possible for you? Though sometimes it may seem time-consuming, let us not be too busy to give thanks to God.
Let us take some time and enumerate what we are thankful for and glorify, worship, and adore God for them.
Always remember that Jesus loves you!