9 October 2022 – 28th Sunday (C)

9 October 2022 – 28th Sunday (C)

(1) 2 Kings 5:14-17

When Naaman heeds Elisha and washes in the Jordan he is cured

Naaman the leper went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy and he was clean.

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company; he came and stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel; please accept a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will accept nothing!” He urged him to accept, but he refused. Then Naaman said, “If not, please let two mule-loads of earth be given to your servant; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering or sacrifice to any god except the Lord.

Responsorial: Psalm 97:1-4

R./: The Lord has revealed to the nations his saving power

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 justice to the nations.
He has remembered his truth and love
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,
ring out your joy. (R./)

(2) 2 Timothy 2:8-13

Preaching is a hard vocation; but we will also reign with Christ

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David-that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful-for he cannot deny himself.

Gospel: Luke 17:11-19

Of the ten lepers cured, only one returned to express thanks

On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, they called out, saying, “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 made clean.

Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.”


Grateful for what we have received

A friend was once rushed to hospital with a serious pain in his back, the result of an old football injury. He was successfully operated and made a rapid recovery. After his cure, he could hardly say enough in praise of his surgeon, the nurses and the whole hospital. Never again did he complain about our health services. It is normal to feel grateful to those who took good care of us. We have a new joy in living and thank God for being spared the other ailments we saw around us while in hospital. My friend even dropped his guard, to say a prayer of thanks. But the real test of gratitude comes later when the relief has worn off. Do we remember then what people did for us? Do we still say thanks to God, who saved our life?

Earlier generations used to say “Thank God” after remarking about fine weather, success in business or at school, the safe arrival of a child, or a recovery from illness. It’s a good custom, built on a tradition of faith and prayer. We might wonder whether a people truly grateful to God would not show it more in their way of life. A grateful people might be more ready to share what they have. They would hardly be totally fixated on private property, while so many are unemployed and the politics of austerity threatens the welfare of the elderly and the chronically ill.

How satisfying it is to receive a sincere “Thank you” for a service truly appreciated. We might even be embarrassed by the warmth of another’s thanks for something that didn’t cost us much sacrifice; but there’s still a warmth in being thanked for things we’ve done. The contrary also holds, of course: how hurtful it is to be consistently taken for granted, without ever a word of appreciation. One out of ten was a fairly poor proportion; but then, truly appreciative people, willing to make sacrifice to show their thanks, are rare enough.

After Mass, we need to bring this thankful spirit into practical social expression in our treatment of others; seeing our life as gift, we should be better able to accept the realities of daily living and share our blessings with others in a generous spirit.

Doing God’s will

Sometimes we pride ourselves in having such a good democratic system, a claim which indeed is debatable. We value individual freedom and liberty, the right to choose and decide for ourselves how to live our lives. But the populace can be swayed by pressure groups and allow hardship and curtailment of liberty to be the lot of migrants and asylum-seekers. And while we do not suffer dictators gladly sometimes we seem to want to dictate to God, make God do things our way, and leave us masters of our own destiny. Some even abandon faith and prayer, because God has not granted their requests.

This was the inclination of Naaman the leper, an army commander from Syria, as he bargained with God. Hoping to be cured of leprosy by prophet Elisha, Naaman arrived laden with gifts of silver and gold, to pay for his cure. The prophet did not even come out to meet him, but sent a message telling him to wash seven times in the river Jordan. Naaman was so hurt that he prepared to return to Syria, raging with indignation. Why wash in this particular river, when there were so many bigger and cleaner rivers at home? “Here was I thinking Elisha would cure the leprous part,” he fumed.

It was only when his servants pointed out how simple was the prescription that he was persuaded to try it and so was cured. Come to think of it, how often do we behave like Naaman. “Why do I have to go to church, when I can worship God out in the open air?” “Why does God send me the cross of sickness, when I could do so much good if I were healthy?” We even find such attitudes among the apostles. “Why do you not show us the Father?” Philip said to him. Some complained, “He says intolerable things and how could anyone accept it?” and they walked with him no more. This reaction of unbelief is often found. But it stands to Naaman’s credit that he thought again, was cured and then returned to thank Elisha.

As Shakespeare wrote in King Lear, “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child.” The Eucharist is a reminder never to forget God’s greatest gift to us, his own Son, our Saviour. If we concentrate too much on asking for things, there is a danger that we may reduce our Mass to the level of magical thinking, a way of turning God to our way of thinking. How much better if we can open our hearts and our lives to whatever God wants for us, which is sure to be the best that can happen to us in the long run.

We are meant to pray “thy will be done”, not demand to have our own way. When we need a favour, we must ask for it with prayer and thanksgiving, because God answers prayer, even if not precisely in the way we expect. Ultimately, says Jesus, God grants only what is for our good. We need to thank God from the heart, like Naaman after his cure, or like the leper who was grateful to Jesus. What a pity the other nine did not say a word of thanks for the blessing they received.

One Comment

  1. Thara Benedicta says:

    Key Message:
    Jesus is longing – “But the other nine, where are they?”

    Today’s Gospel reading is about the importance of Thanksgiving to God. Getting a ticket to Heaven is sufficient enough for us to be thankful to our Lord Jesus. There is always something for everyone to be thankful for.

    Thanksgiving keeps us away from worrying:
    Lamentations 3:21 says, “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope”. When we recall the blessings that our Jesus has showered on us in the past, then we will have the hope for the future. When we forget the blessings, we will worry unnecessarily about any disturbance in our lives.

    Jesus questions us about this unnecessary worry in Mathew 16:8 -“Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?” In essence, Jesus is telling us, “Why are you not remembering the miracles that you have experienced in the past? If you remember you will not worry about your current issues. When I took care of your past issues, won’I take care of your current ones? Just keep going ahead.”

    Another important thing to know from this passage is the disciples talked about themselves about having no bread. Jesus did not like them worrying when He was there. A similar situation happened during the Exodus journey of the Israelites. They worried and complained about the miraculous manna raining from the sky whenever they were hungry. Instead of being happy and thankful for the Manna, they complained about the Manna. Instead of thanking God for all the blessings, the Israelites complained about the blessings. They complained about everything, from Moses to Manna. Because of it they got bitten by snakes. They revolted against God by complaining about His blessings.

    Are we doing similar things? Are we complaining about our blessings? Are we complaining about our friends, spouse and kids instead of thanking God for them? God will be certainly unhappy with our complaints. He has struggled for us on the cross, hanging on three nails. God is covering us as cloud during the day and as fire during the night. He gives us all that we need to travel through our desert. Can’t we walk in the desert sometimes?

    Do we revolt against God by complaining about His blessings? Or do we make way for new blessings by our thanksgiving?

    Thanksgiving increases our hope:
    The more we give thanks the more we will be hopeful. To lead a fruitful life, we need to be hopeful. The basis of being hopeful is being thankful. When we get up in the morning, amidst all our difficulties, when we say, “Thank you Jesus for this day!!”, then our Lord Jesus will shower us with hope for the day. For instance, when your child is completely ready for school, he/she comes and thanks you for this gift of the beautiful life you have made for him/her, how will you feel? Won’t our hearts be overwhelmed with happiness and longing to do more for the child? It is just the same case with our Jesus too. Just before we leave our home for our job or school, when we stand in front of our Lord Jesus and say “Thank you Jesus” from the bottom of our hearts, the heart of our Lord Jesus will be overjoyed!! In His overflowing love, He will be preparing to bless us more and more!!!

    Thanksgiving gives us victory:
    1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. This verse says not only in good circumstances but in all circumstances. Similarly, Psalm 34:1 says, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Here did the Psalmist does not say, “Whenever I feel good”. No. Instead, he says “at all times”. All of us feel easy to say “Thanks” during our good times but complain at the slightest difficulty. But this is the time we need to trust God and thank Him more and more. Now how can we start thanking when we are suffering? Let us remember, that the God who has protected us this far, will protect us hereafter also. Let us thank Him when we are in the battle for He is giving us victory. In the Old Testament, Jehoshaphat arranged men to sing ““Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever” and the army followed them when they went out to war. The Lord set ambushes against their enemies and the enemies were easily defeated.
    In the New Testament, when the Apostle Paul and Silas were in prison, beaten up and in pain, what did they do? They praised God with thanksgiving!! God gave them freedom!!

    Thanksgiving lifts us up:
    What brought King David from shepherd boy to a king? Was he aware of how a kingdom functions? No. What did he do for Almighty God to be impressed with him? He just praised and thanked God in his spare time (while watching his sheep).

    David chose to thank God in his spare time. God chose Him as the king of Israel full time.

    Thanksgiving brings us closer to God:
    David came to the throne thanking God. Our God said about King David, “A man after my own heart”. What did King David do to become so close to God’s heart? He loved and thanked God.
    Lamentations 3:22 sings “…God’s mercies are new every morning…” Every morning let us send up our thanks. He will pack His new mercies every morning and send them down.
    Have we wondered why few people have a fun attitude and others have a gloomy attitude. The magic is this formulae – 1/10 are thankful for their blessings and 9/10 only find reasons to complain about the same blessings. Though all the ten were blessed with the same kind of blessing, only one felt thanks for it. Others were indifferent. So whatever blessing they receive they will continue to complain and grumble. If we complain about the one blessing we receive, even if we receive ten blessings, we will continue to complain.

    We see in the life of Israelites that whenever they complain, they had troubles. When they thanked, God was with them!!

    Thanksgiving satisfies the longing of our Jesus:
    We see the longing of our Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Jesus is longing and searching for the rest of the nine. They did not stop to think about the great marvellous things God has done for them.

    Where are the nine? Are we at the feet of our Lord Jesus prostrating in front of Him, thanking Him and satisfying His longing… or we are far away immersed in our work?

    Once a person prayed, “What is the prayer you would like me to keep saying always within my heart?” He heard a sweet reply -“Thank you Jesus”. This is a simple thanksgiving prayer!!!
    We can always say in our hearts “Thank you Jesus!!”

    Thanksgiving results in a life of abundance:
    The Israelites complained about their blessings. Since they had to go through the desert valley, they would have faced difficulties. God had provided all that they needed to go through. They may not have a variety of food, but they had Manna and the quails. They did not have a variety of new clothes, but still they had enough to wear for 40 years. Still they complained and got bitten by snakes. Now think if they had not complained and only filled the desert with their songs of thanks. God would have sent them new birds, different varieties of Manna and much more food. We only limit our blessings with our complaints. When we give thanks more and more blessings will outpour.

    Complaining results in restricted life. Thanksgiving results in abundant life!!!

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