Stand up and go; your faith has saved you” (Luke 17:19).
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We are a needy people. In the Scripture readings for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we hear about the people’s need for healing and solace and we see the graciousness of Jesus who heals lepers and sets them free to live an ‘ordinary’ life. King Naaman’s disbelief turns into belief and he swears to worship God alone because of his healing. Ten lepers are cured of their pain and distortion. One returns to praise and thank God. St. Paul, imprisoned, tells us the Word of God is not in chains and cannot be contained, if we are faithful.
We can make lists of our needs thousands of miles long, can’t we? What are the essentials? How long would our list be? I hope you would answer with one response; the essential is God and my list is hardly a ‘list’. Oh, but I differ with you. Your list is the largest, richest most abundant list because God’s love is yesterday, today and forever.
We hear Jesus say often, “your faith has saved you.” Jesus is the source of life, the One who gives back life to those who trust Him fully. Jesus is the Lord; there is no reason to despair. In these situations, the ones who are faith filled are the ones who return to say thank you. King Naaman tries to show his gratitude with gifts. The Samaritan, before even being cleared by the authorities, returns to thank Jesus for the clarity of His Word.
Pope Francis exhorts that Jesus “enters the world by the path of humility.” Humility is the effect of a change that the Holy Spirit brings about in us in our daily lives. For King Naaman, St. Paul’s words ring true as he came for healing at the suggestion of a Jewish slave girl proclaiming the goodness of God.
Pope Francis continues, “The humility of exposing his own humanity gained healing for Naaman . . . (it) is the time to take off our armor, discard the trappings of our roles, our social recognition, and the glitter of this world and adopt the humility of Naaman . . . Once we strip ourselves of our robes, prerogatives, positions and titles, all of us are lepers in need of healing.”
In this humility, we return to God and say thank you. We receive Him in the Eucharist and by the unity of this gifted Sacrament, we release our list of needs, because there is no other. We are united with God. Our faith saves us to return to Him time and time again and then to offer Him to everyone we meet.
Pope Francis tells us, “Humility is the ability to know how to “inhabit” our humanity, this humanity, beloved and blessed by the Lord, and to do so without despair but with realism, joy and hope. Humility means recognizing that we should not be ashamed of our frailty . . . The humble are guided by two verbs, to remember and to give life.”
Come to Mass ready to pray together, to listen together to God’s Word and to make relationships that go beyond work and strengthen each other by helping one another. Come to grow your heart to be good and generous. Come to be the one who says thank you to God for the Gift of the Eucharist; that you are healed. Thank you, God, for giving Yourself to me and for taking myself within You. Thank you for sending me forth in faith to serve You in my daily living.
At the end of Mass, hear the Lord’s voice, “Stand up and go, your faith has saved you.” May His words be the invitation we hear to enter the Heavens.