Summary: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) 2 Kings 5:14 - 17, Psalm 96, 2 Timothy 2:8-13, Luke 17:11 - 19
In life, how much do we thank God for what we have received? We have been blessed with simple gifts like the purpose and mission God has given us to fulfill in our daily lives. Besides those gifts, I am able to say that He gives healing and comfort to all the afflicted, He gives wisdom, He gives hope and He gives tolerance but we do not see this coming and often, we take things like this for granted. In today’s Gospel reading, we see ten lepers coming to Jesus for healing but only one comes back to Him. The Old Testament reading clearly resonates with the call of today’s Gospel - the call not only to give thanks, but also to be humble and to renew our faith in Jesus.
In 2 Kings 5:14 – 17, we see Naaman’s faith. Naaman himself was a leper who was instructed by the Prophet Elisha to dip himself 7 times in the River of Jordan to be healed. Soon after that, he was healed and I quote 3 sentences which Naaman said:
- “Now I know that there is no god but the God of Israel” – (2 Kings 5:15)
- “If you won’t accept my gift, then let me have 2 mule-loads of earth to take home with me , because from now on I will not offer sacrifices or burnt – offerings to any god except the LORD” – (2 Kings 5:17)
Likewise, in the Gospel, we see ten men coming to Jesus saying “Jesus, master, have pity on us”, after which Jesus says, “Go and let the priests examine you.” Here, after a while, one out of ten comes back and gives thanks to God. Jesus, just like His last words on before ascending to the Heavens, has commissioned again this now – former leper, who was a Samaritan, to go, for his faith has “made him well”.
The heart of thanksgiving is a sign of humility. When we give thanks, it shows that we are appreciative, which is a sign of humility. This in turn, is a sign of our faith. The other 9 lepers who did not return to Jesus were merely seeking a cure but just did not believe. The little virtue of humility is integral and vital for living out the vows our parents made in our name during our Baptism which would be renewed during Confirmation. It is this little thing that further puts the sign of Baptism into further effect. Without this too, we cannot become the bigger witnesses because fundamental Christian values like these build the bigger witnesses! You cannot be a witness of justice, peace, love, and so many other things if you don’t have the “key” which makes Jesus so unique – humility.
Now we know where the leper and Naaman practiced humility in the readings. When we have faith, humility becomes a part of life and this humility “exalts” us in such a way that this humility spurs us to “endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain the salvation, which is Christ Jesus, with heavenly glory”, just like St. Paul (2 Timothy 2:10) so that we can “live with Him if we die in Him and reign in Him if we hold firm (2 Timothy 2:11-12). However, “if we deny Him, He shall deny us. If we are not faithful, He remains faithful because He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:12 – 13).
Jesus remains faithful to us even when we are not faithful. It is only when we deny Him, He denies us. However, there is a second chance. Take the time of silence, see what ‘leprosy’ that we have in our faith and the blessings that He has bestowed upon us to keep us with Him, offer it up with thanksgiving and pray a promise that we may always stay faithful to Jesus. Again, pray that once we have promised to stay faithful to the Lord, we should also pray that we can go and mend broken ties with friends & family and apologize if we have done wrong to them. Let us also pray that with this renewed sense of faith, the works of love, justice and peace may prevail through our Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns and lives with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever & ever!!! Amen!