Pentecost 21 Tuesday
“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!”
St. Luke purposely mentions three things about the lepers: First, they ran toward him; second, they stood; third, they raised their voice. By these three things their strong faith is praised and presented to us as an example. Running toward Christ–that is the boldness which is driven by the comforting confidence. The standing–that is the firmness and sincerity against doubt. The calling–that is the great earnestness to pray which arises out of such assuming. Yet impotent doubt does not run, stand, or call, but wreathes and coils, lets the head hang, holds the head with the hands, opens the mouth but only blabbers: “Who knows? Who knows whether it is certain? What if it fails?” And similar timid words. For doubt does not have a good expectation and assumption toward God; it does not look to him for anything; this is why it does not get anything, as St. James says (1:6-7): “Let him ask in faith and not doubt; for let him who doubts not think that he will receive any thing from the Lord.” Then the doubters come with their empty lamps like the foolish virgins who spill the oil; that is, they come with their works, thinking that God should hear their knocking and open up. But he will not do it. Look, such a good expectation, or comforting confidence, or free assumption regarding God, or however you want to call it–this is what Scripture calls Christian faith and good conscience. You must have it to be saved. Yet you do not get it by works and doctrines, as we will see in this example, and without a believing heart no work is good. Beware, therefore, there are many who blabber about faith and conscience, but who know less about it than a wooden block. They think that faith is some dormant, idle thing in the soul; that it is enough when the heart believes that God is God. Yet here you see that faith really is a living and powerful thing; that faith changes the heart and the man; that faith looks to God for all graces. This is why faith drives us to run and to stand; it makes bold to call and to ask in all needs.