Thoughts on the Readings for the 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) 2016

For this Sunday’s readings click on the link below or copy and paste it into your browser.   

Our Gospel this weekend is the story of Jesus healing 10 lepers.  We are told that he when entered a village, “ten lepers met him.  They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices saying, ‘Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!’”   Jesus told them: “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  While they were on their way to the priests “one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.  He was a Samaritan.”   Jesus inquired as to where the other nine were:  “Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”  Jesus then told the leper: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”    

There are three things to note in this story.  First, the reason the lepers stood at a distance from Jesus was because at that time it was not known how leprosy was transmitted.  Given this, lepers were required to live apart from and in fact have no contact with other people.  Second, there was great animosity between Samaritans and Jews.  It was significant then that the one who returned to give thanks was a Samaritan.  Finally, notice Jesus’ final words: “your faith has saved you.”  The leper not only received a physical healing, but also the gift of salvation.  

Our first reading this weekend is taken from the second Book of Kings. It is the story of the healing of Naaman the leper.  The important thing to note about Naaman’s healing was that he was a non-Jew, yet was cured of his leprosy through the intercession of the prophet Elisha.  This reading, in conjunction with the cure of the Samaritan leper in the Gospel, reminds us that God’s love and care are inclusive,  and extend to everyone --- no exceptions, no limitations, and no qualifications.   

Our second reading this weekend is once again taken from the second letter of Saint Paul to Timothy.  In the section we read this weekend, Paul reminds Timothy (and us) that despite any hardship we encounter, we can be sure that:  “If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him.”  

Questions for Reflection/Discussion:

  1. Occasionally, some one (unfortunately, often a religious figure) will make some statement about God’s love being restricted to a chosen few.  In light of this weekend’s Gospel, how would you respond to them? 
  2. Faith can be a very powerful force in our lives.  What helps us to keep growing in our faith? 
  3. What do you think it means to “live with Christ” after we have died?   

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