Reflections: The 14th Sunday after Trinity

Today’s Reading: Luke 17:11-19
Daily Lectionary: 2 Kings 2:19-25; 4:1-7; Ephesians 4:25-5:14

“Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus DIDN’T say, “How come no one except the foreigner came back to say ‘Thank you?'” This isn’t about good manners, as if the Lord is offended because the other nine lepers didn’t say “Thank You.” No, to “give glory to God” means something other than just acknowledging God’s gifts. True, we should be thankful to the Lord for all things. But to give Him glory means much more.

To give God glory means to RECEIVE what He has for you. It’s a bit ironic that to GIVE God glory means to GET something from Him. What is that something? “Go your way, your faith has saved you.” Jesus isn’t telling the leper that his leprosy is gone. That already happened. No, Jesus is teaching the leper that his trust in Jesus is not misplaced. The leper knows that Jesus has healed him and is the only one who can give him salvation. So he wants to be where Jesus is. Then Jesus pronounces salvation upon this Samaritan, an Absolution in which he is declared clean before God in all ways.

The Old Testament says a leper has to show himself to the priest. What does the Samaritan do? He comes back to Jesus because he realizes Jesus is the only real priest there is. The High Priest. The One who can make him and all people clean. Jesus’ perfect life and His suffering and death cleanse us from every stain of sin. In Baptism He pronounces us clean and by His Body and Blood He says that He has saved us and we “depart in peace.”

The Samaritan leper teaches us what it truly means to give glory to God: not to simply tell God how great He is over and over but to receive the gifts He has for us in and through His Son. It is the greatest glory of God to save you and bestow that salvation upon you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, keep Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because of our frailty we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 14th Sunday after Trinity)