Faith Receives. Love Gives.

Pentecost 21 Sunday

Luke 17:12-13

“And when Christ entered a village, there came toward him ten lepers who stood at a distance and raised their voice and said: Jesus, dear Master, have mercy on us!”

If you were to ask the evangelist why these lepers stood at a distance and raised their voice, since lepers naturally are unable to raise their voice which is why they must use a slapstick or rattle, he would certainly answer that, while they did not stand a mile away from Christ, they also did not get so close to him as to walk beside him; furthermore, that not all lepers are completely voiceless that they might not be heard from a distance. Yet by pointing this out, this evangelist, in the usual manner of Scripture, only wants to show the great earnestness of their desire: Their hearts’ voice was so great as to constrain them to cry out bodily as much as they were able. Yet this whole gospel reading is a simple, easy history
or account that does not require much interpreting. Yet no matter how simple it may be, it shows us a great example. In the lepers it teaches us to believe; in Christ it teaches us to love. Now, faith and love are the summary of a Christian’s existence, as I have often said. Faith receives; love gives. Faith brings man to God. Love brings man to his fellow men. By faith, man lets God do good to him. By love, man does good to men. For he who believes has all things from God and is blessed and rich. This is why he does not need anything else for himself anymore, but whatever he lives and does he arranges for the good and benefit of his neighbor and does to the neighbor in love as God has done to him through faith. Thus, he scoops up good things from above by faith and gives good things below by love. The works saints militate horribly against this existence by their merits and good works which they only do for their own benefit; for they live only for themselves and do good without faith.

St. Louis ed., 11:1574-1575.

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