Readings: 2 Kings 5:14-17; 2 Tim 2:8-13; Lk 17: 11-19
Being cured, being healed and thanksgiving to the Lord are the key phrases that sum up the message of this Sunday. The readings draw our attention to the mystery of being cured and being healed. While being cured affects only the physical, being both cured and healed implies being touched so deeply at the spiritual levels of emotions that one is led to conversion and being grateful to God for such a favor. In the first reading, Naaman, a military general of the Syrian army goes to the prophet Elisha to be healed. He is not only a Gentile but also a pagan. Besides, he has leprosy. However, his efforts are rewarded with being cured and healed. In the reading, we notice how Naaman returns to the prophet Elisha totally converted to thank God for having been totally healed of his leprosy. But since the prophet does not accept his gift of gratitude, Naaman carries soil from Israel and builds a sanctuary on it in Syria where he would continually worship God and offer gratitude for what God had done for him.
In the Gospel, Luke presents a similar story of the ten lepers who were cured by Jesus on their way to see their priests. But only one of them returns to thank God for being cured and healed. Luke tells us that he was a Samaritan – a Gentile! The point of the passage is to teach us not only about the obligation of thanking God for what he does for us so generously, but once again to draw our attention the difference between being cured and being healed. We can be physically cured, but not healed spiritually."Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they?" Just think for a moment on the many blessings and favors we have received from the Lord even at times when do not deserve. The list is long. I have often heard people speak of how lucky they were that they did not get killed or they survived from a bad sickness. Luck has nothing to do with all that. It is God who cares for us and protects us always. In the Gospel, the leper who returns to thank Jesus is both cured and healed. He shows both a physical cure and an emotional healing that prompts him to express gratitude. That is also a sign of conversion; a sign that Jesus touched him deeply to the extent of wanting to tell Jesus “thank you”. The message of this Sunday may be summed up in three points. 1) Like Naaman, the Syrian and like the one leper in the gospel, may we be blessed with a spiritual healing that overflows into thanksgiving to God for His blessings and favors in our life. 2) Every Eucharist is a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s saving action in Christ. 3) Remembering to say thank you to God is always a sign of having been deeply touched by what God does for us and for our loved ones.
©2016 John S. Mbinda