Today’s Gospel (Luke 17:11-19):
‘On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’’
Perhaps the other nine were simply so overjoyed that they forgot everything else at that moment. Perhaps later they gave praise to God. Maybe they praised God when they showed themselves to the priest.
Yet there is a vital message in this passage. In amongst the celebrations of a joyful occasion, healing, or cleansing, we must never forget the source of that joy, healing or cleansing. God is that source. None of it is possible without Him; He that is the source of all life and all joy.
The man who fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him remembered this most important fact in his joy….that it came from God. And with that realisation came a desire to thank and praise God for this gift he has received, for this joy he now feels. His reward for this act? Jesus tells him that he is saved! Salvation comes to those who put God first and who give praise and thanks to Him!
We are all called to be holy people and to love God. By putting God first and remembering that He is the source of all our joy we can be saved, just like the man in today’s Gospel. That man got his priorities spot on.