Today we hear the lesson from the Gospel of St. Luke Chapter 17 verses 12-17, which is the story of the Healing of the Ten Lepers. We know from the Gospel that Jesus was preaching in Galilee along the border between Samaria and Galilee. Ten lepers came to Him and to the Temple priests who, according to Jewish religious custom, used to verify the healing of lepers. On the way to the priests they were all miraculously healed, however, only one came back to thank Jesus.
They came to Jesus to receive physical healing but their ingratitude showed that they needed spiritual healing too. They not only were plagued with physical leprosy but leprosy of the soul as well. Often people recognize physical needs better than Spiritual needs. Often we seek help when we have a pain, flu, or even a malady, but fail to recognize the sin and affliction of hate, deep anger, bitterness, greed, emptiness and other spiritual ailments, often just coasting along with business as usual or totally indifferent to the health of our souls.
St. Paul said, “What an unhappy man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is taking me to death. The spiritual harms we inflict upon one another, cruelty, emotional rejection, pride, selfishness, mistrust, evil disposition and coldness – do not these spiritual diseases torture us just as painfully as a heart condition, pneumonia, ulcers, etc.? Don’t kid yourself, they do and sometimes even more painful than those of the body.
As Orthodox Christians we must remain cognizant of both our physical needs and spiritual needs if we hope to be made fully whole and perfectly well. These are the words of the prayer of healing and too often we ignore the seeking of forgiveness of our sins simultaneously with that of the body. We seek out doctors for our maladies but we also must seek out the spiritual medicine of the Church, the Holy Sacraments, in which we reconcile ourselves to Almighty God.
Let us remain attentive to the health of our soul, less it be too late. Remember God does not desire the death of a sinner but rather they renew their faith in Him, who protects, comforts and heals our whole being!
May God bless all of you as you seek to entreat Jesus to make you well!