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Sunday, October 13, 2019

A Homily - The Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

First Reading – 2 Kings 5:14-17 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):1-4 ©
Second Reading – 2 Timothy 2:8-13 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 6:63, 68
Alternative Acclamation – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
The Gospel According to Luke 17:11 - 19 ©

Be mindful of how you read the sacred text. It is easy to misconstrue the gospel, and the way may be lost in jingoistic mythology.

The story of Naaman the Leper is one of these tales that threatens to blind us to the purpose of the good news.

On the one hand it relates a story of healing, in this way it is in alignment with God’s promise to cleanse all of us from our hurts and wounds, from the disease of sin.

That is God’s plan for us, to make us well, but the realization of that plan is not of this world.

We must not be confused into believing that this is a story of miraculous faith, or the magical powers of the prophet Elisha, or of God reaching into the world to cause a radical transformation in the life of a single individual.

God does not intervene in our affairs, not even to help us. God has made us free, and the whole of creation with it, and that freedom precludes divine intervention.

The authors and editors of the Book of Kings fail to understand where the real presence of God resides: it is not that the one and true God, creator of the universe dwells in Israel and in no other place, but that there is only one God, the one God is preached in Israel, but the true God is in all places at all times, and with everyone.

God dwells in the human heart and speak to all of there.

It is right and good to praise God, the creator of the universe, because creation is miraculous, and beyond the scope of human comprehension.

But know this: God is not a giver of victories. God has no enemies, and in God, within whom all things exist and have their being…in God there is no conflict.

It is not God’s justice that is shown in the doings of human beings, it is human justice, and when human justice approximates the justice of God, it will be characterized as merciful and good.

Have faith in this: God is kind and to all people, God loves us equally.

God’s power is everywhere, god’s spirit animates the voices that give God praise.

If you are an instrument of justice, judge fairly, judge kindly all-the-while remembering the love of God.

Consider what the good news is:

The Good news is the promise of resurrection and life after death, but it is more than that.

The good news is about the life we live here on earth. The resurrection is meant to ground our trust in the hope that we are all included in God’s plan for the salvation of all people, a plan which God will carry out even in regard to those who do not know of God’s plan, or who knowing of it, do not participate in God’s plan while they are living among us.

God will save even those who view God as the enemy, those who suborn the truth, and harm their brothers and sisters.

Christian faith is grounded in our belief in the reality of the resurrection, and the hope that it applies to us as well. The kindling of this hope is meant to free us from the bondage of the world and allow us to live a life of service right now.

Let us live with this passage for a moment.

God is calling us to be holy, at all times, God is speaking in the heart, pulling at us, inviting us into the compassionate life, a life of wellbeing.

God, the creator of the universe; God does this out of love. This was God’s plan from the beginning of time. There is not one of us, not one child of God, not one being in the whole of creation, who is outside of this plan.
It is not that God has abolished death as much as it is revealed that the death of the body is merely a transition, which we all pass through on our journey toward the creator.

The gospel is this; God loves you, and you are saved. You are not saved for anything that you have done, you did not earn it, you are saved because God loves you.

The promise of salvation is not that you will be spared from suffering and torment in hell, or that when you are judged God will forgive you.

God has already forgiven you. You are already saved.

God has prepared you, and everyone for eternal life.

Believe it! Let the goodness of the promise flow through you now, and start living this life as if it were true.

We are not called to believe in the idea that Jesus is this or that, the Holy One of God or anything else, we are called to act on the principles of his faith, to live lives of charity and service to each other.

It is wise to be thankful, to share your thanks with the world, and in your thankfulness give from your bounty to those in need.

This is the way.

Remember this, God, the creator of the universe, God loves all people. God loves the clean and the unclean, the leper and the person in full health. God loves them both alike. God’s mercy is the inheritance of both.

Consider the Gospel for today, all of the lepers were healed of their disease, one came back and gave praise to God; only one of them was grateful, returned and gave thanks.

You may say that the one who returned and was healed according to his faith and trust in God.

The others were healed nonetheless, they were saved according to God’s grace and mercy.

The important thing to understand is that all were healed, God did not hold back God’s mercy, God saved them all.

First Reading – 2 Kings 5:14-17 ©

Naaman the Leper Returned to Elisha and Acknowledged the Lord

Naaman the leper went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.

Returning to Elisha with his whole escort, he went in and stood before him. ‘Now I know’ he said ‘that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Now, please, accept a present from your servant.’

But Elisha replied, ‘As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing.’ Naaman pressed him to accept, but he refused.

Then Naaman said, ‘Since your answer is “No,” allow your servant to be given as much earth as two mules may carry, because your servant will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any god except the Lord.’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):1-4 ©

The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.

Sing a new song to the Lord
  for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
  have brought salvation.

The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.

The Lord has made known his salvation;
  has shown his justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
  for the house of Israel.

The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.

All the ends of the earth have seen
  the salvation of our God.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth,
  ring out your joy.

The Lord has shown his salvation to the nations.

Second Reading – 2 Timothy 2:8-13 ©

If We Hold Firm then We Shall Reign with Christ

Remember the Good News that I carry, ‘Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David’; it is on account of this that I have my own hardships to bear, even to being chained like a criminal – but they cannot chain up God’s news. So I bear it all for the sake of those who are chosen, so that in the end they may have the salvation that is in Christ Jesus and the eternal glory that comes with it.

Here is a saying that you can rely on:

If we have died with him, then we shall live with him.

If we hold firm, then we shall reign with him.

If we disown him, then he will disown us.

We may be unfaithful, but he is always faithful, for he cannot disown his own self.

Gospel Acclamation – John 6:63, 68

Alleluia, alleluia!

Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life;
you have the message of eternal life.


Alternative Acclamation – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Alleluia, alleluia!

For all things give thanks,
because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.


The Gospel According to Luke 17:11 - 19 ©

No-one Has Come Back to Praise God, Only this Foreigner

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus travelled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered one of the villages, ten lepers came to meet him. They stood some way off and called to him, ‘Jesus! Master! Take pity on us.’ When he saw them he said, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ Now as they were going away they were cleansed. Finding himself cured, one of them turned back praising God at the top of his voice and threw himself at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. The man was a Samaritan. This made Jesus say, ‘Were not all ten made clean? The other nine, where are they? It seems that no one has come back to give praise to God, except this foreigner.’ And he said to the man, ‘Stand up and go on your way. Your faith has saved you.’

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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