Homily: Twenty-eight Sunday Year C Gratitude

By 11:15 AM


Homily Twenty-eight Sunday Year C

Reading 1: What is unusual about the first reading is that Naaman is a pagan, who has leprosy. He hears of a prophet in Israel, who has healed. He goes to him. Instead of coming out to Naaman, Elisha sends a servant to tell Naaman to go to the Jordan river and plunge in seven times. Initially, Naaman was angry. He expected that his rank as an official of the King of Assyria would warrant the prophet to come and pray over him and heal him. Instead, he was told to go do an ordinary thing, which he could have done in his own country.


However, he was urged by his attendants to do what prophet told him, in other words, be submissive and obedient.  He does and he is healed.  He returns to the prophet to pay for his services. Elisha refuses. The healing was to bring Naaman to the revelation that the God of Israel was the true God.  He is now a changed man, not only physically but spiritually. He has had a conversion.  He asks to take dirt from Israel back to Assyria so that he can offer sacrifice and worship to the God of Israel. 


Jesus uses this event later on to emphasize that just like Elisha only healed a pagan and not his own, so Jesus will not be able to heal in his own Nazareth because of their lack of faith. Obedience to the word of God leads to faith and conversion.


What can we learn from this event? When God moves in a mighty way in our lives how vocal and public are we in praising and thanking God? Did our life change?


Gospel: Again, we have the healing of lepers.  To be a leper was to be relegated to a life of isolation and slow painful death.  Their community is one another. When the ten asked to be healed, Jesus puts their faith to a test. He tells them to go to the Jewish priest who would attest to their healing. This was a double test of obedience: obey the Law of Moses which required this and obey the word of Jesus without seeing any results immediately.


Once healed they were to give thanks to God by offering a sacrifice. One man of the ten, a Samaritan, went further. He came back to thank Jesus.  Like Naaman, he recognized what God had done through Jesus, the new Elisha, through the ministry of word. Not only was he healed he was converted. As a result, he received an additional and greater gift than the other nine. He received the grace of salvation. Ten were physically healed. One was additionally healed spiritually. How often like the nine we are satisfied with the physical and missed the greater spiritual gift God has for us?


We are all spiritual lepers, for we are all sinners. We are all in need of spiritual healing. The one that can heal us is Jesus. He does that in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and in the Sacrament of Eucharist. How grateful are we when we receive absolution and when we receive Jesus’ Body and Blood? Is our gratitude superficial or profound? Is our life any different afterwards than before? The healed leper was given a new lease on life. Now he did not have to live in isolation and shame, in guilt and rejection. Jesus wants to do the same for us.


Reading 2: Paul never took his faith in Jesus for granted. He was willing to embrace sufferings for it. In spite of his imprisonment for the sake of the Gospel, Paul still preached the saving plan of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Why? Because he wanted all to be saved. Nothing matter to Paul, not life or death. The only thing was that he would come to a deeper sharing in the life of Christ. He desired to keep pushing forward, seeking the prize of eternal salvation and life with God, which Jesus promised to those who made him the Lord of their lives and were obedient to do his will in all things. Paul knew in faith that Jesus’ promises were true and that God was faithful to his promises.

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