We have two examples of faith leading to healing and outpourings of gratitude in the Scriptures today. In the first reading, Naaman is healed by God following the instructions relayed from God to Naaman via Elisha. While the Gospel tells us of ten lepers being cured by Jesus, with only one of them grateful enough to come back and thank Jesus for the miracle. In both examples we have people, who are not part of God’s Chosen Race, giving thanks for the grace God has bestowed upon them; celebrating their rebirth as a result of the cures; which came about because of faith.
In those days leprosy was a death sentence, by law people were excluded from the community in order to protect the community. If they did find a way to become clean there were strict rituals to go through, but even these would have been difficult as finding a rabbi who would be prepared to risk contamination may have been nearly impossible.
Throughout the centuries the term leper has been used to indicate someone who has been set adrift from the community, persona non gratis.
Who are the people nowadays cast aside from our society?
Who do we shun?
Who are we afraid to allow to get close to us?
These are the people God is calling us to help.
In today’s Gospel we are reminded that it was through faith that the one man cured out of the ten returned to Jesus to thank him, only 10%. This is a reminder for us to remember to thank God for the blessings we receive, that doesn’t mean to only thank God for the prayers which have been granted. Despite what the news tells us there are still many things to be grateful for. The sun rising every morning, the beauty of creation, the hills and mountains the rivers and lakes. All of these are signs of God’s creation and of how much He loves us. As people of faith how often do we remember to thank God for the life He has given us, for the faith He has given us?
I know that I can sometime be caught up in asking God for things, for example when I ask God to pray for friends or relations who are ill or when I pray for inspiration to write these reflections. But am I as good at going back and spending time with God to thank Him when people recover or if I receive affirmation for a reflection or homily?
St Paul’s message in the 2nd Reading is simply to Keep the Faith, last week we heard how precious our faith is, this week St Paul outlines some of the difficulties he has encountered. His message to us is no matter what life throws at us, no matter how we are attacked, we are to hold the line and keep believing in Jesus, just like He believes in us.
Pope Francis when preaching on these readings points out
Significantly, Naaman and the Samaritan were two foreigners. How many foreigners, including persons of other religions, give us an example of values that we sometimes forget or set aside! Those living beside us, who may be scorned and side-lined because they are foreigners, can instead teach us how to walk on the path that the Lord wishes. The Mother of God, together with Joseph her spouse, knew what it was to live far from home. She too was long a foreigner in Egypt, far from her relatives and friends. Yet her faith was able to overcome the difficulties. Let us cling to this simple faith of the Holy Mother of God; let us ask her that we may always come back to Jesus and express our thanks for the many benefits we have received from his mercy1
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
CCC 1503-1505, 2616: Christ the healer
CCC 543-550, 1151: signs of the Kingdom of God
CCC 224, 2637-2638: thanksgiving
CCC 1010: the Christian meaning of death
Please keep in your prayers this week
- The Ukrainian and Russian people, may they be able to live in peace.
- Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
- All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
- Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
- Those in business who have the power to make decisions to help the poor.
- Politicians, that they may adopt an attitude of service to enable them to protect the most vulnerable people in our society.
- Those with an attitude of gratitude that their enthusiasm may be contagious.