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."
eprosy was regarded with terror, highly contagious. No cure. To be diagnosed with leprosy was to be sentenced to exclusion from home, family, to suffer banishment from the community, be barred from places of human habitation. No one might approach them, speak to them or touch them. Incurable at the time of Jesus, society imposed exclusion until death, living death which might not occur for years with progressive disfigurement, of face, body, loss of fingers, hands, legs, sight. It was considered the most terrible of diseases.
In response to the plea of a leper in Mark’s Gospel Jesus reveals his attitude to the disease: “If you want to you can heal me” the leper cried. “Of course I want to” Jesus replied. “Be healed.” Jesus heals, he looked upon sickness as an enemy, stretched out his hand and touched the leper as he reaches out to all who are stigmatized and treated as outcasts in society. The leper is a symbol of all whom he wants in his kingdom.
In the passage from Luke, Jesus praises the gratitude of the one who returns and the power of personal faith in his healing: "Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well."
This is the Story of Jesus drawn from the four Evangelists
Gospel passages accompanied by a number of brief commentaries