Healing, God’s Call, and Curveballs
Jesuit Father Dennis Hamm, S.J. has a fascinating insight about today’s Gospel:
In today’s Gospel account, Luke makes it a point to say that this miracle occurred on the border of Galilee and Samaria. Thus, the healing of the ten leper’s occurs in the north of what is today modern Israel.
When Jesus instructs the ten lepers to “show [themselves] to the priests,” two things are implied. First, he is telling them to do what Leviticus instructs those who recover from quarantined skin diseases to do: to get certified by the Temple personnel as cured. Thus they might resume normal life in the community. Second, the lone Samaritan has a dilemma: to which temple should he report?
Jesus surely means the Jerusalem Temple. The Samaritan recognized Mount Gerizim as the true place to worship God. His priests, of course, would have been the Samaritan priests at Gerizim.
But Jesus throws a curveball! He messes everything up. He cures them all long before they get near to any of the sacred sites.
The foreigner comes to see that it is not the Temple or the mountain or the church or the parish or the Catholic school that delivers and saves people. Jesus is now the privileged “place” to meet the presence and healing power of the God of all.
St. Bruno of Segni (d. 1123) was born in northern Italy, near Asti in Piedmont. He was the greatest scripture commentator of his age. At the Council of Rome (1079) he defended the Catholic doctrine of the eucharist against Berengarius. In the following year Gregory VII, his personal friend, made him bishop of Segni. Bruno was a zealous pastor. He shared in all the projects of Gregory VII for the reform of the Church. In his writings he attacked simony and lay investiture.
In his Commentary On Luke’s Gospel (2, 40: PL 165, 426-428), St. Bruno writes that,
When the Samaritan, the stranger, the outcast saw that he was cured, he went back again, praising God at the top of his voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. The Samaritan stands for all those who, after their cleansing by the waters of baptism or healing by the sacrament of penance, renounce the devil and take Christ as their model, following him with praise, adoration, and thanksgiving, and nevermore abandoning his service.
To be really converted one must be converted inwardly, in one’s heart, for “a humbled, contrite heart God will not spurn.”
So here are some questions:
- If that is the case … if Jesus will not spurn you if you come to him with a humble heart, how willing are you to let Jesus throw curveballs at your life?
- You know your “stuff.” You know your past. You know what you’re struggling with. How much do you want to be healed of that?
- How much are you willing to risk giving God a blank sheet of paper, signing you name at the bottom, handing it to Jesus and saying, “Here, write whatever you want on this and I’ll do it.” Scarey isn’t it?
Yesterday I spent the day attending a Spiritual Gifts Inventory/Called and Gifted Seminar at the St. John Neumann Shrine. It was co-hosted by Sherry Weddell, co-founder of the Catherine of Siena Institute. Several of us had dinner with her afterwards. She’s a convert but she shared her “2nd conversion” story. That was the one when, after her “official” conversion to the Catholic faith, she “signed the piece of paper.”
Her life has never been the same. She received a clear invitation from God to sign the paper. She NEVER envisioned:
- Co-founding the Catherine of Siena Institute,
- Developing the Spiritual Gifts Inventory,
- Writing not one – not two – not three – but four books starting with the best-selling Forming Intentional Disciples.
- Taking recent trips to Australia, New Zeland, Atlantic City, Metuchen, Philadelphia, Texas and Colorado Springs.
Ask her and she’d admit however, she finds joy doing it. She knows she’s doing what the Lord wants her to do… and what she is doing is having an impact in people’s lives.
That’s called being a “disciple.”
I have asked myself, “How ready am I do sign that page?” How ready am I to get that deep healing, follow Jesus down the road and see where it leads? Some people find those strange questions coming from a priest. Some find is encouraging. That’s where they are.
How ready are you?