Theme of the Sunday: The One Who Heals Lepers Is Amongst Us. Why are we proud when we do something good? Why do we feel superior to others? We forget that we are lepers who have been healed by the word of Jesus. The gospel tells us that the first to understand this truth were those Jews considered heretics. The first reading shows us Naaman, a leper and foreigner. He is healed both in body and in spirit by his encounter with the man sent by God. The second reading gives us the example of Paul, who was aware that he had been a ‘leper’. Christ saved him and enabled him to bear everything for the sake of the gospel.
A reading from the second Book of Kings (2 Kings 5: 14-17)
Naaman returned to the man of God and acknowledged the Lord.
In those days: Naaman the Syrian went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of Elisha the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was cleansed [from his leprosy]. Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him; and he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. Then Naaman said, “If not, I beg you, let there be given to your servant two mules’ burden of earth; for henceforth your servant will not offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god but the Lord.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 98:1.2-3ab.3cd-4 (R. cf. 2)
R/. The Lord has shown his deliverance to the nations.
O sing a new song to the Lord,
for he has worked wonders.
His right hand and his holy arm
have brought salvation. R/.
The Lord has made known his salvation,
has shown his deliverance to the nations.
He has remembered his merciful love
and his truth for the house of Israel. R/.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of our God. Shout to the Lord,
all the earth; break forth into joyous song,
and sing out your praise. R/.
A reading from the second Letter of’ Saint Paul to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:8-13)
“If we endure, we shall also reign with Christ.”
Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descended from David, as preached in my Gospel, the Gospel for which I am suffering and wearing chains like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of tire elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which in Christ Jesus goes with eternal glory. The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself.
The word of the Lord.
ALLELUIA 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Alleluia. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Alleluia.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 17:11-19)
“Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”
On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then said Jesus, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Naaman the leper shows huge appreciation for his healing, received through Elisha. One out of ten lepers cleansed by Jesus shows appreciation and gets totally healed. Leprosy, viewed as punishment for sins committed against God, entails some form of separation of those afflicted to an isolated place to avoid defilement and contamination of others in the community. Sins, a form of leprosy, defiles us and makes us enemies of ourselves, from others and from God. It is a break-up of relationship. When we come back to God through reconciliation/confession, we are restored to love, friendship and wholeness and the divide caused by the separation is bridged. This should result in appreciation and thanksgiving. Every sin forgiven brings us close to our salvation; thus Jesus said to Zaccheus, “Today salvation has come to this house,” and to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
PRAYER OF THE FAITHFUL
Celebrant: Let us now raise our voices in prayer to the God of mercy:
That every program and project of our parish may manifest a spirit of thankfulness for God’s many blessings: let us pray to the Lord.
That those who serve our Church as bishops, priests, deacons, and ministers may never cease to proclaim the forgiveness and compassion of God: let us pray to the Lord.
That the world’s nations and peoples may find cause for unity and peace in sharing with one another the gifts of God’s good earth: let us pray to the Lord.
That scientists, medical researchers, and technicians may be blessed with knowledge and perseverance as they seek to alleviate human suffering and pain: let us pray to the Lord.
That the sick and dying may experience, in our care and compassion, the healing presence of Christ: let us pray to the Lord.
That those who have died in the peace of Christ may rise with him to newness of life: let us pray to the Lord.
That God will hear the prayers we now make in the silence of our hearts:
Father of compassion, God of mercy, you are never far away from us, you never cease to hear our cries. We beg your blessing upon the good that we do, and your healing of the ills that afflict us. In Jesus’ name, we pray.