Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today all of us are reminded to give thanks to God for all of His love, mercy and kindness towards us through the words of the Scripture we have just heard earlier on. We heard these in our first reading today, in the Epistle written by St. Paul the Apostle to his protege and brother bishop St. Titus, as well as in the Gospel passage today in the story of the healing of the ten lepers by the Lord Jesus.
In our first reading today, St. Paul wrote to St. Titus on some reminders for the Christian communities and the faithful, as part of his many Epistles or letters addressed to the different communities, urging all of them to keep their faith in Christ firmly and hold onto whatever the Lord had taught them through His Apostles and not fall into the wrong paths. The Lord through St. Paul is reminding all of us here to be good and righteous, to follow His laws and commandments faithfully.
This was what St. Paul spoke of in today’s segment of his Epistle, saying that while once we had been selfish and corrupt in the ways of the world, foolish and disobedient against God, but through Christ, God’s beloved Son sent into this world to be our Saviour, we have been called into a new life and existence that is holy and good, through the path that He has shown us and which He now calls us all to follow.
Through that passage, we can see how God has showed us all His love and grace, in His desire to save all of us from eternal damnation and lead us into a new, eternal life. He does not want us all to perish and end up in eternal darkness, and therefore, He showed us His most genuine love and compassion, one example of which we have heard in our Gospel passage today in the healing of the ten lepers by the Lord Himself.
In that occasion, we have ten lepers who because of their condition had to stay outside the community as in accordance to the laws of God revealed through Moses. This Law came from the time of the Exodus from Egypt, when the Israelites were living together in tents in close proximity to one another. At that time, as the people came into frequent contact with each other, both in their persons and possessions, a disease like leprosy were deeply feared, and therefore, to prevent an outbreak, those who contracted the disease were forced to live outside the community until they were healed.
Those ten lepers who came by the Lord Jesus were those who suffered the same fate, being excluded and forced to live away from their community, from their families and loved ones, to wander in the wilderness until they were proven to be healed and made whole. They sought the Lord to heal them from their sickness, and the Lord told them to go and see the priests as prescribed by the Law. By right, they could only go to see the priests once they had been completely healed, which at that time they were obviously not healed yet.
Nonetheless, all of them did as the Lord asked them to, and went on their way to see the priests. By their faith they were saved and healed, and along the way, they were healed from their leprosy and became whole again. They noticed what had happened to them, and they went off very happy and joyful for what had happened to them. However, out of all ten lepers, only one of them remembered the Lord and came back to see Him and thank Him for all that He had done for him.
And that man was a Samaritan, an important fact to notice at that time because the Jews often considered the Samaritans as pagan and godless people who worshipped idols and were wicked in their lives. Yet, as we have seen here among other instances throughout the Gospels, it is clear that Samaritans were no different from the Jews, and God made it clear through this occasion that His love and mercy is for everyone who seeks Him.
The question now is, have we loved God as we should? Have we thanked Him for all of His kindness to us? Or have we been like the other nine lepers who were so happy for the healing that happened to them and forgot to give thanks to God? We really need to spend some time reflecting about this and our lives, and how we should proceed onward in life as good and dedicated Christians through our actions and deeds, and not just by mere words or formality.
Today, we all should look up to the good examples set by our holy predecessors, especially that of St. Martin of Tours, a holy saint and man of God, who dedicated much of his life serving the Lord and the needs of his flock, as the Bishop of Tours in what is today southern part of France. St. Martin of Tours was once a career soldier, a high ranking army soldier or a captain of the guard, who became a Christian early in his life against the wishes of his own parents.
He became a military man following the family tradition as his own father was a veteran army officer. But his career in the military did not last long as his Christian faith and calling eventually led him to pursue his vocation and becoming a full-time follower of Christ through his discipleship of St. Hilary of Poitiers, another great saint of the time. St. Martin had difficulties earlier on in his calling and ministry due to the opposition and challenges from the Arians who had divided many of the Christian communities of the time.
Nonetheless, St. Martin continued to dedicate himself, his effort and time to care for the people in the community, until he was acclaimed by the people and the clergy in Tours who had been impressed by his faith and life, as the Bishop of the Diocese. He was nonetheless reluctant to be a bishop that according to some tradition, he was hiding from his own consecration as bishop. Despite this, as a bishop, St. Martin committed his life fully to serve the people and worked hard to proclaim the Christian faith and oppose the heresies and false teachings that misled the people unto the wrong paths in life.
St. Martin dedicated his whole life to God, and his holiness is seen even early in life when he was still a soldier as told by many traditions that he met a beggar on a cold night, and he immediately cut his own military cloak in half to give the other half to the beggar that he might cover himself and not be cold. That very night, the Lord HImself appeared to St. Martin wearing the half-cloak and telling him how he had such a great faith, that at time, despite merely being just a catechumen, not even baptised as Christian yet, but he had already lived so virtuously.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all follow the good examples of St. Martin of Tours in our own respective lives. Let us all dedicate our lives for the greater glory of God and for the genuine love of our fellow brothers and sisters. Let us all be good and virtuous Christians, and be thankful of all the love that God has extended to us, appreciating His mercy and kindness, and love Him back with greater zeal and commitment from now on. May God bless us all, now and always. Amen.