Homily – Sunday, the 9th October 2022
Reading: Luke 17:11-19
Last week during the announcements the Warden said- Help needed in transporting a sofa and the response was incredible. May I start thanking each of you and the congregation for caring for the well being of the Pastor. THANK YOU is a powerful word.
A visitor to heaven found the front office very busy sorting petitions and prayers. Several angels and saints were attending to the loads and loads of prayers
As he walked by he saw a bureau very peaceful with an elderly angel slowly attending to the few petitions and he was curios to find more.
So the visitor asked why is it that you have so little work? Which department is this
The answer was simple- This office takes care of the thank you prayers that come and of late they are not many
Several do not even think that all that they enjoy are blessings for which they need be thankful
Others just are like the Nine who were healed who never bothered to say thank you
This bureau is never busy
For our homily today I would perhaps do an interview with the person healed of leprosy who came back to thank the Lord for the healing
Can you recall the moment of diagnosis?
Yes that moment when those scars were noted
The tryst with the doctor praying it would not be serious
The moment when the diagnosis was confirmed
The spinning of the head and the change it brought
Can you tell us what areas of life did it affect?
Physical health, mental health, emotional health, economic health, family health. Social health, spiritual health, It affected all aspects of life.
Can you share with us the pain of ostracization you faced?
Well they showed no pity, We had to leave the family, We had to go into a colony in the land of the marginalised , We had to call out unclean unclean, We were looked down upon, treated as trash. It was painful.
Can you tell us of your healing experience?
We had heard of Jesus, the healer. One day we heard he was coming by. We went to him, Stood at a distance and cried for mercy.
Yes we stood at a distance
He stood, told us to go and show ourselves to the high priest., and as we were walking, we realised we were being healed completely
Yes a miracle did happen in our lives
Can you tell us why you went to say thank you?
I THANKED HIM FOR CHOSING TO WALK THE SAMARITAN WAY
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus] was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. Normally they avoided this route. They did not want to have anything to do with the Samaritans. They would even take a meandering route to circumvent traversing the Samaritan terrain. But Jesus was different. He treated all human beings with dignity. He did not consider anyone inferior or superior to another. He happily walked the Samarian road. For all, who like Jesus, who are able to transcend human made boundaries that treat people in the purity pollution scale how can we but be thankful.
Not only did my pedigree create a semblance of untouchability but also my plight with my tryst with leprosy. Nothing could stop Jesus. He treated human beings as human beings- with dignity and decorum.
For Jesus ALL meant ALL- inclusive of areas considered risky, specially to be with people who are doubly and triply alienated.
I THANKED HIM FOR NOTICING US AND INTERVENING IN OUR LIVES
As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’
Our plights sometimes breaks barriers, calamities do that some other time. Disease had made us a cluster of people with same woes. We shouted out at Jesus maintaining a distance seeking his Mercy.
He did not walk away with an attitude of neglect nor condemnation. But instead he chose to SEE and he chose to INTERVENE in our lives.
In a world where people have eyes and do not see we need to be thankful for the ones like Jesus who chose to see with their eyes. The deeper inner sight beyond the capacity of the eyes. How could I but thank him.
I THANKED HIM FOR THE HEALING AND THE RESTORATION
When he saw us, he said to us, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as we went, we were made clean. This miracle in our lives did not have the drama as in the case of the healing of Naaman, it did not have powerful words like- I will Be Clean. It did not have touch or speech. He just told us to go and show ourselves to the priest
That was the regulation to confirm healing from leprosy because the priest had to testify to the healing and ritually restore us back to the mainstream of the society.
We were rushing to the priest. We were itching to live a normal life, get back to our families and say I am back.
How could I but thank the one who made all that possible
I THANKED HIM FOR CHANGING MY FUTURE- THE TRANSFORMATION
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. It was me.
My life took a turn in a moment. I thought everything was over and suddenly I realised nothing was over. A new beginning was possible. A new future was opening us for me. A future of hope.
It was a future on which I had given up, But now I realised miracles do happen. Situations do change for the better.
For the transformation that was made possible in my life how could I not thank him.
I grew up believing that future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams, that we need to be future wise and be future ready. But stroke of an illness changed it all
I now realise we need to trust the future on God.
The future belongs to those who trust their lives into the hands of the Almighty God
I THANKED HIM FOR TEACHING ME THE VALUE OF SAYING THANKS
Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they?
I do not know about the other nine. Who am I to judge? But should they also not have come back and said thank you.
We many a times take miracles for granted
We forget the basic courtesy of saying thank you
We think these are all our entitlements
Miracles do happen
They continue to happen and we ought to learn to say thanks
The highest appreciation is not just the words but living it out
Gratitude not only makes us thankful but also joyful
We must forget to thank all those seen and unseen gardeners behind the blossom of the smile in our lips
Without our struggles we cannot stumble upon our strengths and that’s why the Bible tells us- In everything give thanks.
That question however keeps ringing in my ears
Where are the nine?
I THANKED HIM FOR THE INCLUSION
Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’
The affirmation of the foreigner is important to note
It happened in my terrain and yet I am called a foreigner.
We have several people living as foreigners in their own land
We have several people living as outsiders in other people’s terrains
But Jesus did not exclude the foreigner
He did not say let only the nine be healed
He healed everyone
He healed foreigner’s too
In an age of xenophobia and different manifestations of homophobia
Affirmation of my inclusion means much to me
I had to say thanks and Jesus acknowledged it
I THANKED HIM FOR PROVING TO ME WHO HE WAS AND FOR THE NEW BEGINNING
Then he said to me, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’
Did I have faith enough?
I called with the crowd- Master Have Mercy
Did I trust in the Miracle Working Power of the Son of God
Yet he says
Your faith has made you well
Yes it is well with my soul
Faith has made me well
I was at his feet with a heart full of thanks
Go On Your Way
A new way
A way that I would have never imagined or thought about
A God of second chances
A God of new beginnings
A way of new possibilities
A way of a new future
The Diocese is envisaging a Lay Discipleship Programme to equip the people of God to explore faith deeper leading to a Certificate
We are envisaging four modules on Walking Together in Faith.
We will look at Knowing God and explore Prayer through the Lord’s prayer
In the second module we will look at Who is this Jesus we talk about every day
The third module will look at Building Communities together- Holy Spirit as the builder of communities
The fourth module will talk about Living Beyond Ourselves
Each of these modules will have five units- 90 minutes on Zoom for which you will need to sign up.
I thank God for faith begins by coming with a grateful heart before Jesus
But it is only a beginning- there is miles to go
Friends, what does this incident teach us
Is it that Miracles do happen
Is it that Healing is a Possibility
Is it that New Beginnings are possible however much you have given up
Is it that we need to learn to Say THANK YOU
Is it that we hear affirmations of our own which at times we do not even comprehend
Is it that Rising and Walking New Ways are always a Possibility.
October 9, 2022