November 26, 2020
Luke 17:11-19 - On the way to Jerusalem [Jesus] was passing along between Sama'ria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well." (RSV)
Confess the Lord for He is good! Alleluia! – The Lord rebukes those who keep the Passover the way the Jews did, just as he rebuked certain lepers he had cleansed. Recall that He loved the man who was thankful, but He was angry with the ungrateful ones, because they did not acknowledge their Deliverer. They thought more highly of their cure from leprosy than of He who had healed them…. And realize that the man who returned to give thanks was given much more than the others. Besides being healed of the leprosy, he was told by the Lord, “Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well.” (St. Athanasius, Festal Letter 6)
America is a country blessed with so many good things. At Thanksgiving we celebrate that we, too, have been blessed by God. Let us not be like the nine lepers who rejoiced only in what they had been given. Let us be like the tenth leper and praise God with a loud voice, thanking Him as both the Giver of Good Gifts and – more importantly – as Savior. As we thank God for our freedom and blessings let us remember what true freedom is and from Whom it comes.
The icon of Christ above is called the “Mandylion” (meaning face which appeared on a napkin). The story that comes to us in Christian history is that King Abgar of Edessa wanted to see Jesus, the miracle worker who went about healing, but he could not leave his country. Instead, he sent a servant, who presented himself before the Lord with the instruction to remember what Jesus looked like. During the meeting the servant presented Jesus with a cloth to wipe His face, and the image of His Face appeared on the cloth. This story is recorded by Eusebius in his “History of the Church” in the early fourth century. Tradition holds that this “Icon Not Made by Human Hands” is the first image of our Lord. Other sources suggest that King Abgar was a leper, and that when he laid eyes on the cloth containing the image of the Lord, was instantly cured.