The readings today speak of healing and salvation. In Second Kings, Naaman, a commander of the army of the king of Syria, develops leprosy. He goes to a stranger, a prophet from Israel, when no one else can cure his disease. Much to his surprise, after a simple bath in the river, he is cured. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus cures ten lepers and sends them to the priest. Only one, a Samaritan, returns to thank Jesus for his cure and only he hears the words, “Your faith has saved you.” The psalm and Timothy remind us that salvation involves justice, kindness, and faithfulness and forever links us with Jesus. In a world as broken as ours, both healing and salvation are necessary.
Leprosy is a disease that does not kill but lingers for years, deforming the body and isolating the sufferer. It has been used in the scriptures to suggest the destructive power of sin and its resulting isolation from the community. Jesus acts in marked contrast to this view when he touches and heals those shunned by their community.
The focus of the readings today is not on the disease itself, not on sin, but on the response of two who were healed. Both lepers are outside the community of faith. Naaman is a Syrian and the leper in Luke is a Samaritan. Both are healed and experience the wholeness that healing provides. The relief and gratitude that such healing affords are more than enough, as it was for nine of the ten lepers cured in Luke. But for Naaman and the tenth leper, their healing not only makes them whole, it makes them want more. Naaman wants to take this God home with him and the tenth leper wants to thank the one who gave him life. It makes them want a continued connection to this God who brought them back to life.
Each of us has known the painful breakdown and isolation that comes with sin, personal and social, individual and community. We have known the pain that lingers for years. And we have known moments of healing, of wholeness restored, the compassionate touch of someone who reminds us that we belong not just to the community but to God. We are not only healed of our brokenness, we are also saved from lives of isolation and misery. We receive that salvation when, like Naaman and the tenth leper, we recognize the source of the grace and mercy, and return to it and take it home with us. So not only are we healed, we become a source of healing and salvation for others in a world where the suffering does not seem to end.
Today’s Readings: 2 Kgs 5:14–17; Ps 98:1–4; 2 Tm 2:8–13; Lk 17:11–19
Also in this bulletin:
- Help Bethlehem Center Feed the Needy this Holiday Season
- Jesus is Knocking At the Door of Your Heart: Evangelization Retreat 10/15-10/16
- Respect the Sacred Space of the Sanctuary
- Catholic Professionals host speaker Kenn Cramer at next breakfast
- GMC is accepting Pre-School registration