Friends, today’s Gospel recounts the Lord’s healing of ten lepers, only one of whom comes back to give thanks. Leprosy frightened people in ancient times, just as contagious and mysterious diseases frighten people today. But more than this, leprosy rendered someone unclean and therefore incapable of engaging in the act of worship. It is not accidental that the person responsible for examining the patient in ancient Israel was the priest. The priest’s job was to monitor the whole process of Israelite worship, very much including who could and couldn’t participate in the temple.
What is so important about worship? To worship is to order the whole of one’s life toward the living God, and in doing so, one becomes interiorly and exteriorly rightly ordered. To worship is to signal to oneself what one’s life is finally about. Worship is not something that God needs, but it is very much something that we need.