The first verse of today’s Gospel reading is significant: Jesus is travelling along the border between Samaria and Galilee. Luke makes it clear that, among the lepers who were healed, one of them was a Samaritan, from a despised ethnic group whose beliefs were held suspect by the Jews.

Jesus isn’t afraid of traveling in borderlands, and he refuses to be held to the unjust standards that would counsel him to rebuff a Samaritan.  This isn’t simply an account of healing. It’s much more than that: It is a summons from Jesus to follow him, to transcend the borders that have been created and to reach out to those considered “other” in the world.  This is an invitation to freedom for us all, to liberation from borders that separate us from one another. Such an invitation is itself a sort of healing, and that’s something to be thankful for.  

—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. serves John Carroll University, University Heights, OH, as professor of education. He is also the Rector of the Jesuit community there.