From Papa Ratzinger Forum:
The Gospel on this Sunday presents Jesus healing ten lepers, of whom only one, a Samaritan and therefore a foreigner, comes back to thank him (cfr Lk 17,11-19). The Lord tells him, “Rise and go, your faith has saved you!” (Lk 17,19).
This Gospel page invites us to a double reflection. Above all, it makes us think of two degrees of healing: one, more superficial, is of the body; the second, more profound, touches the most intimate part of the person, what the Bible calls the ‘heart’, and from there, radiates to the whole being.
‘Salvation’ is the complete radical healing. The common language, which makes a distinction between health (salute) and salvation (salvezza), helps us to understand that salvation is far more than healing: it is, in fact, a new life, full and definitive.
Moreover, Jesus, as in other circumstances, says the word, “Your faith has saved you.” It is faith which saves man, re-establishing him in his profound relation with God, with himself and with others; and faith is expressed in acknowledgment.
Whoever, like the healed Samaritan, knows how to be grateful, shows that he does not consider everything ‘owed’ to him, but as a gift which – even if it comes from other men or nature – ultimately comes from God.
Faith therefore means opening up to the grace of the Lord, too acknowledge that everything is a gift, everything is grace. How much treasure is hidden in that small word ‘grace’.
Jesus heals 10 men afflicted with leprosy, a sickness considered at that time a ‘contagious impurity’ which required ritual purification (cfr Lv 14,1-37). In fact, the leprosy that truly disfigures man and society is sin – pride and selfishness which generate indifference, hate and violence in the human spirit.
No one but God, who is Love, can heal this leprosy of the spirit, which disfigures the face of humanity. Opening his heart to God, man is converted and is interiorly healed of evil.
“Be converted and believe in the Gospel’ (cfr Mk 1,15): Jesus began his public life with this invitation, which continues to resound in the Church, and even the Most Blessed Virgin in her apparitions, specially in recent times, has always renewed that appeal.
Today, we think especially of Fatima where, 90 years ago, from May 13 to October 13 of 1917, the Virgin appeared to three shepherd children: Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.
Thanks to radio-TV linkage, I wish to be spiritually present at that Marian sanctuary, where Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, presided in my name at the concluding ceremonies of this very significant anniversary.
I warmly greet him, the other cardinals and bishops present, the priests who work in the new Sanctuary, and the pilgrims who have come from every part of the world for this occasion.
Let us ask Our Lady that all Christians may have the gift of true conversion so that the perennial evangelical message may be announced and borne witness to, indicating to mankind the way to authentic peace.