The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Luke 17:11-19
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

The worst thing about being a leper isn’t the disease itself.

It isn’t your flesh, boiling and scabbing, that’s the worst. It’s not skin and hair turning yellow, or the swollen and raw flesh that’s worst. Nor is it, even, the pain penetrating deep into your muscles and bones.

All of that is terrible, to be sure, but it’s not the worst part.

The worst thing about being a leper is the alienation, having to call out “Unclean! Unclean!” to keep even your loved ones away from you.

Fearing the spread of disease, lepers were cast out.

If a priest determined that a man had leprosy, his duty was to announce him as unclean. His clothes and possessions were to be burned. All his days, he shall be unclean. He shall dwell alone. He shall dwell outside the camp. That’s Leviticus chapter 13.

That’s what it is to be a leper.

And there’s a good comparison here.


The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Luke 10:23-37
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

To whom is the parable of the Good Samaritan told?

We must say that Jesus is speaking to the lawyer who desired to justify himself. It’s to him that Jesus replied.

But we must also say that this parable is for every Christian who needs to know how they have been loved by God and how they ought to love their neighbor.

To whom is the parable told—there’re only two options: Jesus speaks either to unrepentant sinners or repentant sinners.

To the lawyer who desired to justify himself, Jesus speaks this parable to shock. It’s a shocking parable.

You have to understand that the Jews despised the Samaritans. And the only protagonist in the parable is the Samaritan.

If you were a Jew, hearing this parable in its original context, you would hate Jesus’ words for that reason alone.

Here’s why.


The Twelfth Sunday after Trinity, 2016
Mark 7:31-37
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

Why would Jesus charge the crowd and the once-deaf man to tell no one about the miracle?

The people who brought the Deaf man to Jesus for healing understood that healing was good. They understood that ears should hear and tongues should speak.

This is how far we’ve come, how progressive we are, how much better things have gotten…

In the Gospel lesson, an ailing man was brought to Jesus for healing.

Today, that same man would be encouraged to think himself whole. Encourage a Deaf man to become hearing, for example, and you’ll receive the scorn of his community and yours.