Third Tuesday of Advent – Luke 17:12-15


As [Jesus] was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.



Imagine waking up one morning and realizing that nobody, not even the people closest to you, would come near you. Imagine having everything taken away from you, including your sense of self, and feeling powerless to do anything about it. 


This is what the ten lepers in the Gospel of Luke had experienced.


In the ancient world, leprosy was more than a skin disease. If you had leprosy, you would be declared unclean and sent away from civilization. It was a symbol of separation from your family and the rest of society. It meant that you were dangerous to be around, and everyone knew it. 


There was no hope of becoming clean again.


To put it bluntly, life for these lepers was bleak and meaningless.


But then, Jesus walks by.


And with him comes a spark of hope and a chance to experience life again. Jesus sets them free from their isolation and shame by removing the physical and social barriers that were created by the disease. 


Essentially, he gives them back their true identity, and with it, a joy so deep that one of them couldn’t help but come back singing. 


The joyful message of Advent is that Jesus, “God with us,” comes to us in our lost relationships, our loneliness, and our alienation, and restores our true identity. He invites us to throw off the labels that have been placed upon us by ourselves and by others, and cry out with joy that we have been set free. 


  • Have you ever felt like you lost your sense of self?


  • How have you experienced isolation?


  • What is the truest thing about you?