Jesus journeys to Jerusalem, and necessarily passes through Samaritan territory, which alone would have been surprising to most following him, but this incident with the lepers (arguable indigenous to the region and therefore all Samaritans) allow Luke to continue his theme of universalism and his theme of “even if only one is saved.”

The one leper returns as a response to his faith, not that ritual purity healed him but that Jesus did. His prostration at the feet of Jesus acknowledges his divinity, for only to God would a Samaritan or a Jew prostrate themselves.

This theme of the recognition of the true God runs through the readings. Naaman now worships the God of Israel; Paul “remembers Christ;” the Samaritan returns for true worship. This is a very difficult theme to sell in America today. The faith of the leper saved him, not the body of his former thoughts and attitudes. He had been invested in the law, but now is freed from his disease so that he can return to community.

Jesus teaches discipleship on his way to Jerusalem. In these readings we learn that the constituent parts of discipleship includes: faith, thanksgiving, the free gift from God, worship of the true God in true worship. And all these things are unmerited gifts from God.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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