28th Sunday of Ordinary: Canonization weekend of Bishop Scalabrini
Call to worship
By healing the ten lepers in today’s Gospel, Jesus offers everyone the chance to live life more abundantly. Faith in Jesus can make us grateful and deepen our relationship with God and with others.
- To the point: Ten lepers ask Jesus to take pity on them and he heals them. But only the Samaritan leper returns, glorifies God and gives thanks. This leper reveals himself as someone who knew he needed healing, but also as someone compelled to return to his Healer, throw himself at his feet, and further the fledgling relationship begun with the healing. For this action he received even more than physical healing. He hears Jesus declare to him, “your faith has saved you.” This is faith: knowing who we are before God, gratefully coming to God, and ever deepening our relationship with God. The leper’s love and gratefulness is a passionate response to God. Our response should be no less.
- Connecting the Gospel (Luke 17:11-19) to the first reading: Both readings present foreigners (Naaman the Syrian, the grateful leper, a Samaritan) who are healed of leprosy and who return to give thanks. Their response to being healed is to glorify God. The Samaritan leper fell at Jesus’ feet; Naaman takes “two mule-loads of earth” so that he can worship the God of Israel.
- Connecting the Gospel to experience: The sense of entitlement often makes us neglect even such common social gestures as saying thanks. The ungrateful nine lepers were the original entitlement crowd! We are moved beyond taking for granted that what is given to us is owed to us when we grow in the kind of mutual sharing that deepens relationships.
True humility frees us to embrace the truth about who we really are. It can bring deep healing.
Our hurtful past does not need to accompany us into our future. Physical hurts take time to heal, but interior hurts and angers can — with faith — be tempered, softened, and released.
Naaman was radically changed, not only cured, but because of his intensely conscious humility and gratitude — the same for that leper who stood with the other nine shouting for healing but remained alone to shout thankful praise.
Giving thanks grounds us. Whether we are military heroes like Naaman or societal outcasts like lepers, thankfulness puts us all in the same boat. No one is entitled. Our readings gently prod us to humbly accept our humanity, to redeem our hurts with faith, and to change our lives with thankfulness
(Luke 17: 11-19)
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
We are 10 lepers, with scars and wounds –– and hope
for your healing touch. From our souls’ depths
we raise our voices to you.
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
As we glimpse the grace you pour upon us,
we thank you.
The First Reading
(2 Kings 5: 14-17)
Naaman said: “Please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth,
for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice
to any other god except to the Lord.”
Naaman was looking for healing.
He got “go-wash-in-the-river” instead.
And he was healed. He carried home holy ground,
on which God, using plain things, had done this miracle.
Lord, let us find you everywhere
and relish your holy ground,
finding your holy love there in our lives.
The Second Reading
(2 Timothy 2: 88-13)
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those
who are chosen, so that they too may obtain
the salvation that is in Christ Jesus.
Jesus, sometimes you ask us to suffer hardships.
So, help us bear all things for the sake of those we love.
Let us bring them with us as we rise with you.
Copyright © 2022, Anne M. Osdieck
Music for reflection