Posted on Oct 15, 2019

13 October 2019

Do any of you remember the film,  Regarding Henry?

The film starred Harrison Ford who portrayed Henry Turner,

 a high-powered, high-priced Wall Street lawyer.

Henry stopped at nothing, nothing to win.

Everything–even his wife and daughter, were carefully crafted to project the image

of a successful, winning attorney.

All of this changes one night when Henry stops at a convenience store to buy a package of cigarettes.

Without realizing it he walks into a robbery in progress.

The gunman shoots Henry in the head.

Henry lives but his memory is erased.

His long convalescence is tortured–not because of pain or physical impairment,

but because he must relearn everything: reading, writing, how to boil water.

Throughout his convalescence Henry gets glimpses of who he must have been,

how he destroyed people to win, how obsessed he was about his lifestyle.

And, he can’t comprehend it.

At one point in the film he says, “I don’t think I like me very much.”

Henry doesn’t have a conversion experience.

He has the unique opportunity to remake his life. And he does.

And we all like the new Henry a lot more.

Much like the story of the ten lepers the Lucan author has Jesus tell today.

Ten people are given the opportunity to remake their lives.

Most of us here will never have the opportunity to remake our lives.

We live with our histories, and our histories shape much of who we are.

So what’s the point of Regarding Henry?

What’s the point of the gospel today if the option of remaking our lives isn’t open to us?

I think the point is this:

We are all still making our lives.

Once when I was visiting a shut-in I asked an old man if he had his life to do all over again, would he make any changes? “You bet,” he said.

“And anyone who tells you they wouldn’t is either a fool, or is fooling themselves.”

Then he continued: We’re all pretty stubborn and we’ve got a hard time admitting                        we’ve made mistakes.  For most of us that means we won’t make changes either.”

Then he smiled and said: “It’s too bad.  We might all like ourselves a little more if we                  did.”

The critical line in today’s gospel is not Jesus’ remark about only one person returning to give thanks.

The critical line is Jesus reminding us all that the man’s faith saved him.

I believe it takes faith in something other than ourselves,

to look at ourselves honestly, admit our mistakes, and get on with making our lives.

The one leper couldn’t get on with his life without returning to the Lord.

The other nine believed they could.

Which of the people in the story do we like more.