“As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ When he saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were made clean. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. ThenJesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’” (Lk 17: 12-19)
How surprising that Christ says to this man that his “faith,” of all things, has made him well. This man was a Samaritan, which means he embraced a heretical faith. I’m thinking that he probably wouldn’t have gone and shown himself to “the priests” – the priests of Orthodox Judaism, – simply because they weren’t his priests. Because the Samaritans, originating from the ancient Israelites, separated from Orthodox Judaism since the Babylonian captivity, recognizing only the first five books of the Bible and insisting that Mount Gerizim, not Mount Zion, was the original place of worship of the true God.
And yet, apparently, the Samaritan got enough things “right” in the whole business of faith, for his “not entirely right” faith to make him well. What did he get “right”? For one thing, he believed that the God-Man could heal him, so he asked Christ for healing. And, secondly, after being healed, he “remembered” his Healer, unlike the other lepers (perhaps Orthodox ones), returning to thank Him. So our Lord makes no attempt to “convert” this man to Orthodoxy. He rather praises the man’s faith and simply tells him, “Get up and go on your way.” ...You be you, Samaritan-guy, our One-and-Only Lord says to him (!).
What’s the lesson I carry away from this? Is Orthodox faith unimportant? No, that’s not the lesson. But I am taught today, from this reading, that God in His omniscience does take care of, and heal, also those not blessed with Orthodox faith. Because He can see everything, like the things certain non-Orthodox get “right,” even while we (occasionally slipping into a self-satisfied, un-grateful Orthodoxy) in our merely-human vision might discount them, and get these very things “wrong.” Thank You, Lord, for humbling us with Your omniscience, above and beyond our merely-human vision of ourselves and “others.”