Sunday Readings Notes – 28th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C – Oct. 13th
Thanksgiving in October!
Next Sunday’s Gospel is the one that is always used for Mass on Thanksgiving Day in the United States. It speaks of the foundational attitude that opens us up to the grace of God in an on-going and saving way: gratitude. The Greek word that is used to describe the Mass – “Eucharist” – means “thanksgiving” and “gratitude.”
Next Sunday’s Gospel is the scene in the Gospel of Luke where ten lepers see Jesus from a long distance away as he and his disciples were at the edge of a village. They cried out a word of faith, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us” (Luke 17:13). Jesus then tells them to begin going back into town to the priests who would examine them to see if they were free enough from the contagious disease of leprosy to be able to participate again in the community’s worship gatherings. After realizing that they were healed only one of them returned to thank Jesus. Because of that expression of gratitude and thanksgiving, Jesus declares that this Samaritan leper is saved!
The grateful Samaritan man who was healed from leprosy expresses three key aspects for the road to eternal salvation. First, he expressed trust that Jesus was the One who could save/heal him. Secondly, he obeyed Jesus’ request that they step out in faith that they would be healed and start going to the priests even before the healing was complete. And, finally, the Samaritan man expressed gratitude for Jesus’ healing mercy.
In the First Reading, from 2 Kings 5, the army commander of a neighboring country – and sometimes rival – asked the prophet Elisha for prayer for healing from leprosy. Elisha responded by asking the army commander, Naaman, to express an act of both faith and obedience. Elisha asked Naaman to go to the Jordan River and bathe there seven times. This seemed usual to Naaman. He figured that he would be “zapped” by Elisha and be healed by him by simply laying hands on him. Naaman’s faith and obedience prove effective as he responded by washing in the Jordan River at the prompting of a Jewish girl in their camp.
As an echo of these steps for preparing for the salvation of our souls are the steps people need for healing from addictions. Again, faith, obedience and gratitude are all interior dynamics that are essential to healing. Those who are seeking freedom from an addiction would find these qualities as helping them to respond to the treatment plans and support that are available for them for healing.
May gratitude, faith and obedience help not only those in need of healing but may they also help family, friends and staff to support them into on-going freedom!