Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 13, 2019 Cycle C
by Rev. Jose Maria Cortes, F.S.C.E., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine,
Sunday Reading Meditations
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
At the time of Jesus, leprosy was considered both a physical and spiritual curse. Isolated from the community, lepers were seemingly abandoned by God and men.
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” (Lk 17:13). In the cries of the lepers, we hear all mankind pleading to Jesus for healing.
“Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan” (2 Kgs 5:14). In order to be healed from spiritual leprosy, it is necessary to plunge into the waters of baptism and delve deeply into the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection. In the second reading, Saint Paul says: “If we have died with him we shall also live with him” (2 Tim 2:11).
We pass over from death to life as we “remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead” (2 Tim 2:8). To remember Jesus means to do what only one of the healed lepers did, to return to him and thank him. To remember Christ is to offer everything to him. In the first reading, Naaman says: “I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except the LORD” (2 Kgs 5:17).
In the second reading, Saint Paul says: “If we persevere we shall also reign with him” (1 Tim 2:12). To reign with Christ means to conquer any obstacle that prevents us from reaching our destiny. As we experience the saving power of God, everything becomes a path to fulfillment.
An encounter with Christ is life changing: “His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy” (2 Kgs 5:14). We experience renewal. God’s grace heals us from sin and fills our hearts with pure gladness. As today’s psalm says, “[s]ing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands: break into song; sing praise” (Ps 98:4). The new light received from above leads us to glorify God: “And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice” (Lk 17:15).
We were lonely and despairing but now, in God, we are in communion with all things. Our hearts overflow with hope. As the psalm says, “[s]ing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds” (Ps 98:1). We have passed from darkness to light. In the Gospel, Jesus says: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you” (Lk 17:19). Salvation entails responsibility. Jesus gives us a mission. We need to proclaim the grace that we have received everywhere: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19).
October is missionary month. Let us pray for an increase in the missionary spirit of the Church. May every member of the Church feel the urgency to proclaim Jesus Christ to the world with courage and boldness. Amen.