The readings we have on this 28th Sunday of the year C in ordinary time, reminds us of the fact that whatever we have and are is simply a gift from God. In view of this, our lives should be that of gratitude and thanksgiving. In the first reading and the Gospel of today, we hear the story of the people suffering from leprosy and they experienced the healing power and mercy of God. The healing of Naaman that took place in the first reading, was accompanied with gratitude and thanksgiving from him. He made a proclamation of faith “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel”. With this proclamation came a total conversion of Naaman. The miracle of healing from his leprosy, brought about faith and conversion.
In the gospel reading, Jesus heals ten lepers and only one of them (the Samaritan) returned to appreciate what Jesus did for him. The fact that he came back to Jesus in appreciation for restoring him to good health, brought to him what the other nine lepers did not get; absolute healing. The other nine lepers were healed physically; while the one that went back to Jesus in appreciation was healed both physically and spiritually. This was simply because he went back to appreciate the wonderful thing Jesus has done for him.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, which of the two groups can we situate ourselves? Do you belong to the group of Naaman and the Samaritan that went back to Jesus, or you belong to the group of the nine lepers who went away without showing any gratitude for what Jesus did for them? We are all invited to embrace a life of gratitude and thanksgiving in our daily lives. We are encouraged to learn to appreciate whatever we receive from God or our brothers and sisters; no matter how small we think we received. The readings of today makes it very clear that appreciation and gratitude is accompanied with the blessings of God. Therefore, we are all encouraged to put this into practice in our daily lives and by so doing impacting positively in the world in which we live. When we do this, we have nothing to lose but a lot to gain.
Dear friends in Christ, during the time of Jesus, leprosy is considered as punishment from God because of sin. Thus, the people are excluded from the community and placed in a separate place. So there is a separation between them and the other members of the community. By so doing, there is a break in human relationship. Bringing it to our own situation today, one can say that we are suffering from different types of leprosy. We may not be excluded from the community, but we may have broken our relationship with God because of one sin or the other. It could be because we are envious of people, stealing, bad habits and so many other things we do and know it’s not pleasing to God. The readings of this Sunday encourages us to drop all such habits in appreciation for the supreme price that Jesus made for our sake. This is very important, if we truly want to reign with Christ as presented in today’s 2nd reading in St. Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy at the end of our earthly life.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all invited to retrace our steps and go back to God. It is a call to conversion that is accompanied with the blessings of God for all those who embrace the invitation. May God grant us the grace to embrace this wonderful invitation and return back to Him. Peace be with you! Amen!