THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2013
YOUR FAITH HAS SAVED YOU
Today’s gospel: Luke 17:11-19
Faith brings salvation. Jesus went to the cross and died for
us, winning for us our salvation. When we accept him as Savior
and Lord, that is, when we put our faith in him, then we are
is a continuing thing. Unlike some born again Christians who
claim that once they have accepted Jesus and are saved, then
they are assured of eternal life, no matter what they do in
life, we Catholics know that we need to keep working out our
salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12b). Yes we have
been saved, but we need to live our faith in Jesus in order
to experience the fullness of that salvation.
the fullness of salvation means the fullness of the life of
God. We not only meet Christ and accept Jesus as Savior, but
we need to live Christ and accept Jesus as Lord of our lives.
Ten lepers were healed (they experienced salvation), but only
one went back to Jesus.
We learn much from today’s gospel reading.
we as sinners are all spiritual lepers. Lepers were outcasts
in Jewish society. They had to live away from the people.
“They stood at a distance from him” (Lk 17:12b).
Apart from God we are cut off from His body on earth, the
if by the grace of God we know our condition of being cut
off from the mainstream, then we seek re-integration. We desire
to be cleansed of our infirmities. This can only happen if
we seek Jesus. The lepers “raised their voice, saying,
‘Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!’” (Lk 17:13).
Jesus tells us how to be cleansed, and if we obey, then we
will be cleansed. “And when he saw them, he said, ‘God
show yourselves to the priests.’ As they were going
they were cleansed.” (Lk 17:14). This also shows that
it is not just a matter of a personal relationship with Jesus,
but also a communal relationship with his body on earth, the
Church. This is why we not only repent of our sins and ask
forgiveness from God, but we also go to confession.
the unfortunate truth is that people go to God in their desperation,
but when the crisis has passed, they just go off on their
own way, unmindful that God has called them to enter more
deeply into a life in Jesus, with healing and restoration
as only the primary steps. “Ten were cleansed, were
they not? Where are the other nine?” (Lk 17:17). This
is where we need to appreciate the blessing of suffering.
People who are comfortable and have many resources are hardest
to bring to Christ. Why? They are self-sufficient and do not
need God. But those who suffer loss, especially those plunged
into severe crises, are those who in their desperation become
more open to God. A crisis is often the gateway to conversion.
We need to understand the full meaning of faith. We must be
like the one leper.
with the other nine, met Jesus. “As he was entering
a village, ten lepers met him.” (Lk 17:12a). Faith starts
when we meet Christ. But that is just the initial step. Many
meet Jesus in various ways. They may hear a Sunday homily,
listen to a preacher on TV, be witnessed to by a friend, happen
to read something in a book, see a religious post on Facebook,
etc. However, they do not follow through on that meeting.
We not only need to meet Jesus, but we need to get to know
were those who met Jesus but did not move on to get to know
him. When Jesus healed the Gadarene demoniac, ‘the whole
town came out to meet’ him, but only to beg him to leave
their district (Mt 8:34). When Jesus entered Jerusalem, a
great crowd ‘went out to meet him’ (Jn 12:13a),
but they were only looking for a king with power to liberate
them, and so later instead of crying out ‘Hosanna!’
they cried out ‘Crucify him!’ When Jesus visited
Martha and Mary, Martha ‘went to meet him’ (Jn
11:20). But then she became busy with serving him. In contrast,
her sister Mary ‘went to him.’ (Jn 11:29). Mary
‘sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.’
(Lk 10:39). Martha met Jesus, but Mary got to know Jesus.”
(From the book “The New Evangelization--A Work of the
we need to be a friend of Jesus. We grow in this relationship.
We communicate (in prayer), we listen to each other (yes,
Jesus listens to us), we spend time together (a disciple with
the Master), we enter deeply into each other’s lives
(Jesus physically enters us in holy communion), we even give
our life for the other (Jesus already did this for us).
to know Jesus means a profound encounter with the living God,
with the one who is Savior and Lord. It means meeting Jesus
and being profoundly touched by him. It may not be as radical
as the encounter of Saul with Jesus on the road to Damascus.
But it is an encounter nonetheless with the risen Jesus. It
is meeting the risen Lord. Jesus is alive. It ultimately results
in profound transformation. It cannot be otherwise.”
(From the “The New Evangelization--A Work of the Divine
The one leper met Jesus, was healed and touched by him, and
“realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying
God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and
thanked him.” (Lk 17:15-16a). He did not just accept
his healing and go off, like the other nine. He went to Jesus,
thanked him and glorified God. We can presume that his life
was radically changed from then on, not only because his leprosy
was gone, but because he now knew Jesus, and he accepted the
lordship of Jesus in his life, as he fell at Jesus’
feet. From then on he would live Christ. Profoundly touched
and grateful, aware of his salvation, acknowledging Jesus
as Master not just by word but by deed, from then on he would
live the way of Jesus.
we see that once one truly meets and begins to know Christ,
then he will start to live Christ. Once we have met Jesus,
we need to grow in our relationship with him. We need to be
transformed in Christ. We enter more deeply into our life
in him. We need to be changed, as we are restored to the image
and likeness of God in which we were created. We become worthy
children of the Father. We become true temples of the Holy
again, to live Christ is not just to be a good person. If
that were the case, then we can say many Christians are actually
living Christ. But it is much more than being a good person.
To live Christ is to be holy as God is holy, to be a true
disciple of Jesus, and to attain to the perfection of the
Father.” (From “The New Evangelization--A Work
of the Divine Family”).
Finally, Jesus said to the one former leper, “Stand
up and go” (Lk 17:19a). Now that he had met Jesus, now
that he would begin to live as a disciple, then he was to
go back into the world and make a difference, especially by
proclaiming Christ to others. In the gospel of Mark, Jesus
sternly warned the leper he cleansed to “tell no one
anything” but “the man went away and began to
publicize the whole matter.” (Mk 1:43-44a,45a).
can we keep the wonders of God to ourselves? Would we not
burst if we kept the awesomeness of God to ourselves? Woe
to us if we do not preach the gospel! (1 Cor 9:16). The gift
we have received we are to give. We then need to share Christ.
Like the instruction to the leper, we are to stand up and
go. We are to go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel
to every creature (Mk 16:15). We are to evangelize in the
name of Jesus.
today Catholic laypersons are largely unaware of the call
and duty to evangelize. For those who are still actively going
to church, they are there to receive and to be served. They
look to their own spiritual well-being. Most Catholics do
not share Christ. They do not know the first thing about sharing
Christ. They do not understand the process of evangelization.
They might even consider this as something born-again Christians
or evangelicals do, but not Catholics. But if that is the
case, then such Catholics are not even true Christians. They
are selfish, they are not obedient to God’s commands,
and they are in effect against Christ.” (From “The
New Evangelization--A Work of the Divine Family”).
established His Church on the day of Pentecost, founded upon
Peter, who functioned as the first pope. This church did rapid,
massive and worldwide evangelization. His one true Church
is the holy Roman Catholic Church, with an unbroken line of
popes from Peter to Benedict XVI, the 265th pope. The mission
of the Church remains the same. She is a missionary Church.
She exists for mission. Why should Catholics not evangelize?
Why should evangelization be associated just with evangelicals
and the born again? “Has none but this foreigner returned
to give thanks to God?” (Lk 17:18).
Jesus tells us today, “Your faith has saved you.”
(Lk 17:19b). This is a call to meet Christ, to live Christ,
and to share Christ. This is a call to the New Evangelization.
This is a call to mainstream Catholic lay evangelization.
In this Year of Faith, let us rejoice in our salvation and