Gospel LK 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
"Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"
And when he saw them, he said,
"Go show yourselves to the priests."
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
"Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"
Then he said to him, "Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you."
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, Come by the means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Thy well beloved Spouse. Amen Grace to Pray for: The Grace to approach God when we feel our deepest misery and ‘unlovealbness’
This passage is so powerful—we encounter the Power and Beauty of the Gaze of God. First, find a quiet place to sit where you can pray. Now slowly read the Gospel passage and try to be present, walk with Jesus as He enters the village. We are told ten lepers came to meet Him and stood at a distance, they raised their voices and said, “Jesus Master, have pity on us!” When He saw them, they were cleansed- simply by His Gaze. This Gaze of God is something powerful- His Gaze can cleanse-heal, restore, transform.
Now, try with all your heart to enter this passage from a different vantage point, walk with the lepers. It gives insight into the heart of the man filled with gratitude. Be with the lepers, be one with the lepers, as they hear that Jesus is approaching. We do not know more details of this encounter than what is here in the passage, so let us try hard to enter it. Can you feel the pain of mind, body and soul. Can you feel the pain of rejection, the loneliness, the hopelessness that has crept into their hearts over time? To feel that one looks ‘ugly,’ frightening to others, is considered untouchable, unlovable; and to feel this, day after day, after day. Can you imagine what they felt? Feeling all the pains of a human heart, that we all know so well, and yet not receiving the comfort that every human heart not only desires, but needs.
They came out to meet Him at a distance and cried out to Him. Jesus doesn’t pull back, nor run away, nor shout out “remain where you are!” Rather, what does Jesus do? HE LOOKS AT THEM. What did this “Look” look like? Can you see with the eyes of your soul, His Gaze of Love? He is not rushed, He is not calculating, he is not perturbed by anyone’s comments to ‘move away’ from them. He is tender and calm and the love pouring out of His eyes is almost more than your heart can take. You are asking yourself and Him, in the silence of your heart; “how can this love be there like this, for me?” His Gaze is healing something deep within you, in the deepest part of your very being. His Gaze of Love is cleansing the part of you that feels dirty, ugly, unlovable, untouchable, hopelessly convicted that my ‘condition’ will never change. Look into His eyes, can you allow His ‘look’ to penetrate you and possess you. How does He look at you?
We are all lepers, we all feel parts of us are not clean, not right, not good, not beautiful, are ugly and so malformed. In this ‘state of mind and heart’ we run the risk of not approaching Him, not coming close because we feel we might be rejected, refused, or rebuked unless we clean up our act. We are too ugly to love. But the ONLY ONE who can make all of these things ‘go away’ by simply gazing upon us, we often shy away from because we are afraid to be loved ‘as is.’ This fear can paralyze us from approaching Jesus. He loves us ‘as is’ and this Love, that flows from the heart of God for us, we can meet if we look into His eyes and allow His Gaze of Love to penetrate our very being. If we move toward Him in these times instead of reeling backwards. If we allow Him to love us in Truth, this love will explode into the most profound gratitude! Love, when received, ignites love and this love will show itself through gratitude.
Question: What are you afraid to show to Jesus? What are you afraid to bring before Him, that you feel is ugly, has been with you forever and you feel ashamed, or what are you trying to ‘fix’ on your own? Show yourself to Jesus in Truth, allow His to look upon you.
“He loves you always, even when you don’t feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes-He is the One who always accepts you. You don’t have to be different for Jesus to love you. Only believe you are precious to Him. Bring all you are suffering to His feet-only open your heart to be loved by Him as you are-He will do the rest” (St Mother Teresa)