icon_bede-On Luke 17:11-19

Continued from here…

And Jesus, answering said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? … There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger.

As to the body, it is easy to see that a man may have no leprosy; and yet he may not be sound of soul. But in the light of this miracle, it troubles the mind to know how one who is thankless can be said to be made clean?

But it is now easy to see, that this also can happen that someone within the society of the Church may know her true and pure doctrine, and may interpret it all in accord with the Catholic rule of faith;

he may distinguish the creature from the Creator, and by this show that he is free as it were from leprosy, from the spots of lies, and nevertheless be ungrateful to God and Lord Who made him clean, because uplifted in pride, he has not thrown himself down in loving humility to give thanks, and so has become like those of whom the Apostle said: When they knew God, they have not glorified Him as God or given thanks (Rom. 1:21).

Saying, they knew God, Paul shows that they had been made clean of leprosy; yet he goes on to call them ungrateful. And he said to him: Arise, go thy way; for thy faith hath made thee whole. He who had fallen in humble devotion at the Lord’s feet, is told to rise, and go on his way.

For whoever is acutely aware of his own unworthiness, and humbles himself before God, is told by the comforting divine word, to rise, and to put his hand to strong things (Prov. 31:19); and growing daily in merit, go on his way to the more perfect things (Heb. 6:1).

For if faith made him whole who had hurried back to give thanks to his Saviour and to the One Who had made him clean, unfaith has brought spiritual ruin to those who, receiving favours from God, fail to return and give Him glory.

And so this lesson is joined to the one preceding it in the gospel (that of the unprofitable servants) for this reason; that there we learn, through the parable, that faith must grow through humility, while here more clearly we are shown by actual happenings, that it is not only confession of faith, but also the doing of the works that follow faith, which makes whole those who believe, and give glory to the Father Who is in heaven.  Amen.

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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