“Your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:19)

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Imagine yourself as the Samaritan in today’s Gospel. A victim of Hansen’s Disease—leprosy—you are an outcast. Out of concern for public health and ritual purity, you have to live outside the city, away from your family (Numbers 5:2-3). Your face is deformed and left partially paralyzed. Perhaps a couple of fingers or even a hand has had to be amputated. Maybe your feet are starting to get deformed, making it hard to walk. The stench of the ulcers on your body causes people to be repelled by you. As you walk the streets, you warn people to keep away from you: “Unclean, unclean!” (Leviticus 13:45). There is no cure for your disease. You are condemned to a life of misery and decay.

But then you meet Jesus. You cry out to him, and he sends you to the priests. As you believe and begin to walk, one of your companions turns and says: “Your sores are gone! Your skin is so smooth and clear! You’ve been healed!” You look down at your hands and feel your face, and joy envelops your heart. Amazed and grateful, you run back to Jesus, throw yourself at his feet, and worship him.

This story tells us what Jesus is looking for from all of us. Every time our faith is increased or our prayers are answered, he wants us to turn to him in thanksgiving and worship. Why? Because he loves being praised? Not at all. Rather, it’s because he knows that when we come to him in worship, our faith is built up even more. Every time we praise and thank him for his marvelous deeds in our lives, our hearts are softened even more, and we become even more open to his word, his work, and his love.

So today, take some time to write down the most grace-filled moments you have experienced in your walk with the Lord. Where have you seen God work the most powerfully? Meditate on these events and let them move you to worship. Give yourself to the Lord in a deeper surrender so that he can take you even further in your faith.

“Lord, with all my heart I sing your praises. Thank you for turning my mourning into dancing and my tears into laughter.”

Peg Orzel