One of the most common assertions in the scriptures is the fact that God hears, and sees, the plight of those who are in distress. Do you recall Haggar weeping for her son? Or the Israelites toiling in the hardship of Egyptian mud pits? Or blind Bartimeaus by the side of the road? God Sees them. God hears their cries.
In today’s gospel lesson we see ten lepers standing at a distance from Jesus and begging for mercy…and Jesus saw them. Saw their plight, their isolation, their shame and their need for healing. The Son of God saw them, and with a word of grace set them on their path to healing and restoration. The beginning of the good news for those in distress is just this: “God hears, and God sees.”
But this week’s lesson actually tells two stories: the story of Christ’s healing word for ten lepers and the deeper story of salvation for one of them (who was, as it turned out, a Samaritan). All ten went to show themselves to the priest and be restored to their community, and as they went their leprosy were cured. One of them saw that he was healed, and returned praising God in thanksgiving. Gratitude and thanksgiving before God reflect a condition far deeper than a cured illness…they show the very nature of one who is saved.