icon_bede-On Luke 17:11-19

And it came to pass that there met him ten men that were lepers (Lk. 17:12). They may well be described as lepers who, while having no true knowledge of the faith, profess a variety of heretical teachings.

For such people do not hide their ignorance, but proclaim it as the height of learning; priding themselves on what they have to say.

There is no false doctrine in which some truth is not mingled. True doctrine therefore mixed without order with what is false, in a man’s discussion or conversation, and showing like the colours in a body, resemble the leprosy that spots and blemishes the human body with patches of true and false colour.

Such persons are to be excluded from the Church so that, if it is possible, placed afar off they may with a loud voice cry out to Jesus. And so aptly there follows: Who stood afar off and lifted up their voice, saying: Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.

And rightly if they are to be saved do they call Jesus their Master. For when those that are to be healed humbly call Him Master (Praeceptor), they signify that they have gone astray from His teaching; and when they come back to the teaching of their Master, they soon return to the outward appearance of health.

For there follows: Whom when he saw, he said: Go, shew yourselves to the priests. And it came to pass, as they went, they were made clean. We find that none of those to whom the Lord gave bodily favours were sent to the priests save lepers.

For the priesthood of the Jews was a figure of the Royal Priesthood to come, which is in the Church, and in which all arc consecrated who belong to the Body of Christ: the True and Supreme High Priest.

And whosoever by the grace of God is without any trace of heretical falsity, or pagan superstition…let him come to the Church, and let him show the true colour of the faith he has received.

Other faults, such as those relating to the good health as it were of the members of the soul and of the senses, the Lord heals and corrects Himself, interiorly in the conscience and in the understanding.

And even Paul, after the Lord had said to him: Why persecutest thou me, and I am Jesus whom thou persecutest, was nevertheless sent to Ananias, to receive the sacrament of the doctrine of the faith from the priesthood which had been established in the Church, and so that his true colour might be approved.

The Venerable Bede (672/4-735): Commentary on St Luke’s Gospel (PL 92, Lib. III, Cap. X, col. 467); Translated by M.F. Toale, D.D. @ Lectionary Central.

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