Twenty-Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 144 (NAB Translation)
This week’s first reading is on from the book of the second book of Kings. This reading completes the story about Naaman, a successful army general from Syria, who had contracted leprosy. Although Naaman had been an enemy of Israel, a young girl he had captured in a war against Israel, had informed the general’s wife that there was a prophet in Israel who could cure him. Naaman traveled to Israel in search of Elisha the prophet. Naaman was insulted when, rather than performing an elaborate ceremony, Elisha simply told him to wash seven times in the Jordan river. Naaman was about to refuse, but his servants persuaded him to obey the prophet. When Naaman came up out of the water he had indeed been restored. This is a story of faith, obedience, and the washing that prefigures baptism.
The response for this Psalm is from our Gospel: “The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.”
Saint Paul reminds us in this week’s second reading (from his second letter to Timothy) of the necessity of suffering for the sake of Gospel if we are to imitate Christ and attain His glory. Paul’s own example serves as a lesson to Timothy and to all teachers of the Gospel that hardships are to be expected and endured if we are to answer the call of duty which is to truly seek to save souls. We must be willing “to die with” Christ that we might live with Him. It is also a call to courage and perseverance, holding firm and refusing to deny Him. This is our call and we must be prepared to face the test if we truly wish to be disciples and followers of Christ and receive the glory that can only come with the Cross.
In this week’s Gospel from St. Luke, we see Jesus heal 10 lepers which reminds us of how Elisha healed Naaman in the first reading. This story takes place as Jesus is traveling toward Jerusalem to face his passion and death. Despite the fact that 10 were healed, only one –a hated Samaritan, bothered to give Jesus thanks. Jesus notices and comments on it as a lesson to us that humility and gratitude are the proper response to God for all that He has given us. In essence, the other 9 lepers may have been healed, but they have yet to experience the inner conversion that would lead them to the wholeness Jesus would desire for them. This lesson should help us reflect on our level of gratitude for all the God has provided and inspire us to strive for even greater thankfulness and appreciation.
Reflection question from Bishop Vásquez
In Jesus’ day, leprosy included several skin diseases and was understood as a punishment from God. Sufferers of the disease were separated from the community and not allowed to publicly worship with the community. It was the duty of the priests to declare the person healed of the disease and thus allow the person to return to society and regular worship in the temple. Encountering Jesus and acting on his instruction in faith brought healing to the 10 lepers and restored unity with society. Yet only one, a non-Jew, returned to Jesus praising God. Today, ask yourself, “What damages my relationship with God? Am I willing to respond to Jesus in faith and be restored? Like Naaman and the leper do I praise God for my many blessings?