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by Billy Korinko '09, Religious Studies Major, Women and Gender Studies Minor
In this story of Jesus and the ten lepers, Luke offers an interesting insight on thanksgiving. I do not believe that Jesus is being represented here as one who is giving yet only concerned about receiving a 'thank you.' Instead, I believe that Jesus praised this leper because he returned to him. Jesus seeks for us to be near to him so that a loving relationship can be fostered. This leper’s story is a testimony of how to build a friendship with the Lord. This story beautifully calls us to stay close with those who bless us, first and foremost, Jesus.
Thanksgiving is a beautiful way to remain close with God. It is important to be thankful for the Lord’s blessings, but it is imperative to be able to distinguish blessing from privilege. Although both can be used for the betterment of others, blessings are divine, while privileges are the result of unequal social structures. We must be careful in our thanksgiving because God does not shed privilege upon us. It is my prayer that God will continue to bless and heal our society from structures that advantage some and oppress others. In this story Jesus sides with a Samaritan with leprosy, an absolute outcast of society. “Stand up and go” is Jesus’ invitation. To truly accept this invitation we must acknowledge our privileges to better understand those who are oppressed—the lepers of our society-- while always returning home to be near to the Lord.