Listen therefore, O kings, and understand;
learn, O judges of the ends of the earth.
Give ear, you that rule over multitudes,
and boast of many nations.
For your dominion was given you from the Lord,
and your sovereignty from the Most High;
he will search out your works and inquire into your plans.
Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly,
or keep the law,
or walk according to the purpose of God,
he will come upon you terribly and swiftly,
because severe judgment falls on those in high places.
For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy,
but the mighty will be mightily tested.
For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone,
or show deference to greatness;
because he himself made both small and great,
and he takes thought for all alike.
But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.
To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed,
so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.
For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness,
and those who have been taught them will find a defense.
Therefore set your desire on my words;
long for them, and you will be instructed.
Psalm 82:3-4, 6-7
Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
I say, “You are gods,
children of the Most High, all of you;
nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
and fall like any prince.”
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”
The story of the ten lepers really forces us to confront the profound ingratitude we humans are capable of displaying towards God. Here are ten men whose lives are over, who have a painful and demoralizing degenerative disease for which there is no cure, who have to live as exiles, unclean, and cut off from their communities, until the disease kills them. Then suddenly, their health is restored and their lives given back to them, and a stunning nine out of ten do not even thank their healer.
It’s easy to shake our heads and “tsk” at the nine, but we must admit that it is appallingly easy for us humans to slip into ingratitude and forget the good things God has done for us and promised to us. Like the nine, we can cry out to God in times of distress, but then once the crisis has passed go on our merry way and forget to return to Him, to thank Him, and ask Him to be Lord of our happiness as well as of our misfortune. Like the rulers chastised in the reading from Wisdom today, we forget that what we have was given to us and that God searches out our hearts and all our doings. How easily we can think it belongs to us and that we are self-sufficient, that we do not need to seek the Lord continually with gratitude and the desire for instruction.
Today more than ever, we live in a world where so many take for granted existence itself, not acknowledging the God who made us. And each and every day, we have the choice to seek the Lord and ask Him to make our hearts clean and be grateful and humble or to follow our own plans and seek our own way. Today let’s take time to thank Jesus for paying the price to heal our souls from sin and to place our faith in Him, and to pray for our companions who unwittingly receive our God’s blessings everyday to also seek His face.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for my life itself, the happiness and the struggles, and for giving Yourself to make me holy. Be with me always, to instruct me in your word and show me the way I must walk to bring your healing and deliverance into this world.