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We are already well into the Nativity Fast which began November 15 and have already celebrated the Entrance of the Mother of God into the Temple (November 21). Today our gospel lesson from Luke 17:12- 19, is the account of the healing of the ten lepers while He was preaching in Galilee, along the border between Samaria and Galilee.

As the story goes, ten lepers approached Jesus to which He said, “go and show yourselves to the priests in the Temple.”  According to Jewish tradition and custom at that time, lepers had to present themselves to the priests to verify if they indeed were healed of this infirmity. As they traveled to the Temple they were miraculously healed, but only one of the former lepers returned to the Lord to thank Him.

You see, yes indeed the lepers needed physical healing of this dread disease but by their ingratitude they showed that they needed spiritual healing as well.  Often people are concerned or preoccupied with their need to heal their physical infirmities but neglect their spiritual healing as well. We are always ready to address our physical infirmities by taking added precautions and medical remedies, but we are not prepared or even desirous of seeking healing of our hate, anger, bitterness, greed, emptiness and selfishness. For these maladies or infirmities, we simply carry on as usual, perpetuating them and even enhancing them, not concerned how they actually affect our lives but most of all our souls.

It is the spiritual harms that we inflict on one another, mental cruelty, emotional rejection, pride, selfishness, favoritism, mistrust, evil and malicious actions, and coldness that are equally if not more hurtful or tortuous then, the flu, heart conditions, pneumonia, serious illnesses etc., on ourselves or those who we direct it too.

We often forget how devastating these evils can hurt one another, causing each of us great harm, despair and damage. When will we wake up from committing these offenses against a brother, sister, mother, father, friend or neighbor? Remember the anguished cry of St. Paul when he said, “What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body, that is self, that is taking me to death? (That is spiritual death)”.  Romans 7:24.

This Biblical lesson entreats us to examine the wellbeing of our soul as well as our bodily health.  It basically exhorts us to understand that God is the One who renews our inner self through spiritual renewal. We must consistently take account of our spiritual lives and seek the necessary healing from God Almighty.  Our old life must be put to death in order to receive spiritual renewal otherwise we will continue to carry on in the manner of “business as usual”, never addressing what can hurt us.

So as we continue on our journey towards the Feast of the Nativity, let us look into ourselves and take an accounting of our spiritual maladies which can inflict pain and devastation on our soul.

Let us also remember that this month we commemorate several saints and tertiary feastdays which are of great importance, including St. Nicholas Day, St. Barbara and the Conception of the Most Holy Theotokos by the Righteous Anna.  All of these commemorations prepare us and usher us into the correct spiritual mindset which culminates in the Incarnation in the flesh of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Christ Healing the Ten Lepers