Not much would have to be changed in this week’s lectionary themes to make them entirely relevant to our world and culture today. Imagine that. Jeremiah lived 700± years before Jesus! And even though leprosy isn’t part of our daily vocabulary, prejudice is. Luke’s gospel about Jesus and the 10 marginalized lepers and the one grateful Samaritan reminds us that there are still a lot of Christians who believe that God’s grace is earned or deserved
This doesn’t indicate that humanity has not evolved or that we are hopeless. In fact, Jeremiah’s letter to the exiled Hebrews insists upon the opposite. No matter our circumstances, if we can live generously and abundantly now, we are freed to create Kingdom in the present, and a home for our and future generations. Thus far, there seems no better way to subvert oppression and ill-will.
Jesus said to the one returning leper, “Get up and go. Your faith has healed you.” It doesn’t seem that the doubly marginalized Samaritan leper should have had any expectation that he would be healed. Maybe he meant that “faith” isn’t about passive belief or certainty. Rather, faith is an act of generosity and gratitude.