Twenty-Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 9, 2016
“The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power.”
The story of the ten lepers and the gratitude expressed by one is rather silent about the faith of all ten. Imagine seeking Jesus out for a cure to their miserable condition and hearing only: “Go show yourselves to the priests.” He did not heal them on the spot; Luke tells us that “as they were going they were cleansed.” For the suffering lepers, for whom nothing happened immediately, it took faith to leave the presence of the healer, hopeful that healing would take place. They understood the Jewish custom to show a cure from disease to the priests. This action led the priest to proclaim their restoration to community life. All nine acted in hope and faith.
Note that Namaan in the first reading and the Gospel’s grateful leper have a common status in the community. Both are outsiders: Namaan was a Syrian and therefore excluded from the community of Israel, and the grateful leper was a Samaritan. Perhaps the biggest message of God’s actions through Elisha and Jesus is that the Holy One reaches beyond the boundaries of community structures. The Word of God, as St. Paul reminds us from his cell shortly before his martyrdom, is not chained. Salvation, freedom from that which blocks a life in God’s hands, is given with compassion to all. Perhaps we can all go forth in the kind of faith that moved the ten lepers and sing to the Lord a new song, for God has done wondrous deeds.
Ever living God, we open our hopeful hearts to your healing touch.
We ask you to reach into the core of our being, into our innermost sorrows,
to free us from the bondage that keeps you out.
With the healing rays of your Son, Jesus Christ, warm us in your compassion and love
so that your Holy Spirit may dance in our being to make us fully alive once again,
so that we may sing a new song to the Lord.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Diocese of Winona