Monday, 19 August 2013
The Passage About the Ten Lepers...
In yesterday’s Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass we heard the Gospel of the Ten Lepers in which only one of the ten who had been healed returned to thank the Lord. I was preparing to preach simply on my usual themes of seeing sin as a sickness as well as an offence, and of being thankful to God for all the good which He bestows upon us, when I found myself noticing two additional things.
The first thing I noticed was that it was not at the time of their encounter with the Lord that the lepers were healed, but while they were on their way to the priests. This called to mind the importance of the priestly role in the healing of souls, yet today many people simply ignore Confession. Surely if we are serious about our faith we will be at Confession at least once a month; priests as well as people? We can’t be serious about our faith if we aren’t serious about Confession, because without Confession we live in the stench of sin. Yes venial sins can be forgiven by such as reciting the Our Father at Mass, but a certain stench of sin can remain, residing in the attitude of “I don’t need Confession” -and the soul who thinks in that manner needs Confession more than they realise.
The second thing I noticed was that while all were declared healed, only one was declared saved. This seems to underline the fact that while all of us have been redeemed, we are not all necessarily saved (the difference between for all and for many).
We need to be like the leper who gave thanks to the Lord; we need to thank God for His love, mercy and healing, and we need to thank Him by more than simply coming to Mass, because if we come to Mass without seeking to make our lives different to the man next door, then we are coming as a kind of Fire Insurance: we are simply trying to stave off the fires of hell. That really isn’t good enough. A life of prayer, reception of the Sacraments, and of humble charity wherein we seek to avoid evil and do good, is also needed.
Remember, no one wants us to reach heaven more than Our Lord; He wants us in heaven so badly He died on the Cross to open it up to us. Surely then, since He died for us, we ought to be able to live for Him. To return to my usual theme on this Gospel: if we see can sin as a sickness as well as an offence, and come to the Confessional for healing as well as absolution, and we can develop an understanding of the Sacrament as meeting with the Divine Physician as well as the Just Judge, and be less afraid to approach...