“Your faith has saved you”

Jeff Tan’s thoughts on today’s Gospel at One Bread, One Body prompted me to make a brief comment on his post. 

He didn’t go much into the title of his post “Your faith has saved you”, but it was particularly that phrase upon which I reflected during the gospel reading today (with the help of the Universalis App which gives the Greek text as well). 

The line could well have been translated “Your faith has healed you”. And here is the odd thing – all ten were healed. In what sense then, was this one Samaritan healed/saved that the other nine were not? Did Jesus even mean to suggest this? 

As I am preparing for my new Anima Education Monday Night course “The Challenge of Atheism”, I have been reflecting on the way that many people in the world experience deliverance (salvation/healing) from bondage to evil. Some have the faith to acknowledge that this is a gift from God, and respond with gratitude, but many don’t. In fact, one of the atheist charges against religion is simply that religion is a misplaced sense of gratitude. Something good happens to us, and we don’t know who to thank, so we create the Spaghetti Monster in the Sky to be the object of our gratification (this very position is expressed by Jane Caro in a book I am currently reading “For God’s Sake: An Atheist, A Jew, A Christian And A Muslim Debate Religion“). That seems a bit twisted to me. When the lepers presented themselves as “cleansed” to the priests at the temple, did the priests think that they had invented Jesus as an object of their gratification? 

But (in the terms of the second reading for today) even if we are faithless, God is still faithful! Even if we are thankless, God still acts graciously towards all his creation. 

Something to think about.

(By the way, lately, I have come to regard that 2 Timothy 2:11-13 passage as key to a great deal in the Scriptures about faith and the faithfulness of God. I love the way it says that God will always be faithful because “he cannot deny himself” – not “disown” as the JB lectionary has it – because he has sworn his promises on his own name!)

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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2 Responses to “Your faith has saved you”

  1. Peregrinus says:

    The line could well have been translated “Your faith has healed you”. And here is the odd thing – all ten were healed. In what sense then, was this one Samaritan healed/saved that the other nine were not?

    See, this is why we should all learn Greek!

    Is this bloke “healed” in a way that the others were not? I think yes, because he alone turned back, praising God and prostrating himself at the feet of Jesus.

    The healing, remember, does not happen instantaneously. Jesus tells the ten lepers to go and show themselves to the priests, and it is as they are on their way to do this that they are “cleansed”.

    Nine of the ten continue in their journey; their priority is to escape from legal restrictions and recover the social status that they lost when they became lepers. Only the Samaritan responds by breaking off his journey, turning back, praising God and prostrating himself at the feet of Jesus, which I think points to his having grown in a way that the others have not. All the lepers have faith, or at least have hope, in Jesus as the source of a possible cure for leprosy, but (from the little we’re told) we can’t say that the other nine regard him as anything more than a magician. Whereas the Samaritan leper not only explicitly recognises that Jesus, or at least the healing that comes through Jesus, is from God, but also recognises that the healing occurs in the context of a relationship between him, the leper, and God, and that a response to God is appropriate.

    There’s a long tradition of seeing (and speaking of) sin, and original sin, and the Fall, in legalistic terms – offence, punishment, redemption, etc. But there’s an equally long tradition of seeing and speaking of it in medicinal terms, and the illness which is healed in the Samaritan is not just the physical illness of leprosy, but the spiritual illness of separation or distance from God. The Samaritan grows closer to God; that’s the additional healing that he experiences.

  2. Matthias says:

    A good post Schutz and I agree with Peregrinus that the Samaritan was saved because he recognised that Here was One Who is the Link between sinner and God

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