In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen (بإسم الآب والإبن والروح القدس إلهٍ واحد آمين).
In this gospel lesson of St. Luke 17:12-19 we hear of the 10 leopards that were cleansed. In verse 12, St. Luke tells us these leopards “stood at a distance”. The reason being was that leprosy was a horrible and hideous disease and people were afraid, because it was contagious. Therefore, the leopards were not allowed in the towns or villages. In verse 14, Jesus tells the leopards to show yourself to the priest to be healed. So, they did, and they were healed. One point to note here, in verse 13 the leopards told Christ to have mercy on them. In this case, instead of Jesus laying His hand on them so they could be cleansed, he sends them to the priest to test how strong their faith is. This is just one example of how Christ tested the people without Jesus’s total involvement and believing in Him that He was the Christ, the Messiah, and the Son of God. Another was the Centurion who told Jesus, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed (Matthew 8:8).” In verse 16, out of the 10 leopards that were healed, only 1 leper and that 1 leper was a Samaritan (Samaritans were basically hated by the Jews). This Samaritan was the only one that showed gratefulness to Christ for his healing. Even Jesus was amazed that this Samaritan came back to thank Jesus, whereby Jesus said to him, “was no one found to return and give praise to God except his foreigner?” In other words, it was this non-Jew who became the model of gratefulness to Jesus; hence, the others (the Jews) just brushed aside and did not appreciate what God did for them. Thus, they did not give glory to Christ.
Now that Christmas and Epiphany is over and as we now move towards Pascha (believe it or not) I thought since this gospel lesson was about glorifying Christ and I did not reflect to much about Christmas, a season where we as Orthodox Christians say, “Christ is born, Glorify him!” that I would blend this beautiful expression of love and devotion of our Lord in this reflection. This brings me to my point in my last two sentences of the gospel what I said about the 9 lepers who did not give glory to Christ for their healing (they did not give glory to Christ). Once again, let us reflect about the month of December (such as the Nativity fast, and Christmas). Do we really give glory to Christ on His birthday? Or are we all wrapped in the “hustle and bustle” as mentioned in the lyrics of Christmas music? I would like to include with the “hustle and bustle” black Friday, which becomes more ridiculous every year. Is this what Christmas is all about? (I think not). But for the most I hate to say people love to shop more than to glorify Christ that time of year. Think about it, and you will agree with me people (Christian people included) are so caught up and absorbed in the “hustle and bustle” so to speak, they forget about the true meaning of Christmas which is the glorification of Christ. Instead, people (Christian people included) glorify the commercialism of Christmas (how sad)! This commercialism every year is instilled in the minds of Children from their parents. Regarding this, I would like to take this one step further by telling you I remember some time ago when I was watching television. A first-grade teacher asked her students “what is Christmas about?” Of course, like always to answer that question was: “opening gifts by the Christmas tree!” But one child answered, “Celebrating Jesus’s birthday and going to Church glorify him” (he was an Orthodox Christian child 😊). I said, “BRAVO!” to that answer when I heard that. In short, this reflection was about glorifying Christ at Christmas. Muse over this, we should always glorify him each and every day. Also, consider this, we the Christian Orthodox people even though we are one of the minority in this Christian world, we are the only ones that I am aware that include at the end of our Christmas liturgy the expression, “Christ is born! Glorify Him!”