Homily October 13, 2013 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Posted in christian, Christianity, ecclesiology, inspirational, religion, scripture by Fr Joe R on October 8, 2013


I have always thought that the story of the ten lepers came down to the idea of gratitude. However, when I see the story of Naaman the Syrian which was also read today, there is a certain thought or similarity that comes to mind. As part of the human family, we tend to be cliquish or tribal or even exclusive. We all tend to think we are an “in” group or exclusive. Israel was the only worshippers of the One God and all foreigners were unclean and to be avoided. Even today the concept remains in many Christian denominations that if you are not a member of our church, then you can’t be saved. Thus salvation is found only for our own kind.

In the two healings today, the focus turns on two men, one a Samaritan and the other Naaman from Syria. Elisha and Jesus both healed the foreigners, but only after they went and performed some activity. Naaman had to plunge 7 times into the Jordan, and

10 Lepers

10 Lepers

the Samaritan was sent to the priests with the other nine for confirmation that he was clean. Only by plunging in Naaman’s case and walking away in the Samaritan’s case brought about the healing. As we read, both men returned with much gratitude and new-found faith. Such faith and gratitude was lost on the nine in the gospel, as apparently they simply went on with their lives returning to family and friends taking their healing in stride.

A real lesson is here for us to consider. Certainly, Israel was the only people who worshipped the One God, and they were the ones Jesus was sent to. In his time on earth, Jesus certainly remained in Israel to preach and teach them. But when Jesus met non Jews, He certainly was hospitable and even welcoming to them. Even in his parables, the hated Samaritans were seen as being human and even capable of doing good things. Jesus first came to Israel, but his arms were open to embrace all people, especially when he was ill received by those who should have recognized him and believed.

So both Elisha and Jesus met and showed real compassion to those they met and encountered. Both men bestowed the gifts of healing and faith. They asked for nothing for what they gave wasn’t theirs but God’s to give. They both said go and believe. Well, I tell you today, each of you has received this gift of faith. That gift you can bestow each day, each encounter if you are a true disciple and give yourself. The reward is in the giving and in the seeing and understanding that God is working through you.

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