FIRST READING 2 Kings 5:14-17
Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times at the word of Elisha, the man of God. His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean of his leprosy. Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God. On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel. Please accept a gift from your servant.” Elisha replied, “As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;” and despite Naaman’s urging, he still refused. Naaman said: “If you will not accept, please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth, for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice to any other god except to the LORD.”
SECOND READING 2 Timothy 2:8-13
Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him we shall also live with him; if we persevere we shall also reign with him. But if we deny him he will deny us. If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.
GOSPEL Luke 17:11-19
As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
Jesus, Master! Have pity on us! – What a wonderful relationship to God. To have perfect trust in God even when we have hardly met Him. These lepers know that their life is a complete mess and that they are outcasts from the community. Only a divine intervention can heal them. Perhaps their faith in Jesus is not yet strong, but there is something there pushing them to ask Him to heal them. Most of us turn to God in the same way: when we are desperate. It really asks a lot of us to pray when things are going well.
The first reading today from the Second Book of Kings gives us the story of Naaman the Syrian, who was also desperate to be healed. Like us, when the healing did not go according to his own plan, he was ready to give up. The part of this reading we have today only tells of the healing and the incredible faith that happened in Naaman.
You and I, again, might be just like that: if we see miracles or experience miracles, we can have an enormous faith. But without some miracle, it is more difficult to believe. Why does not God send us more miracles? We just do not know the ways of God. Always God is trying to gain our attention and our faith and love. God knows best the way to do that in each of our lives—we must trust that.
The important teaching of the second reading today, from the Second Letter to Timothy is this: If we are unfaithful he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself. God is always faithful to us. God always loves us, even when we reject Him. It takes a lot of faith to believe that about God. Most of the time when we think that He is angry with us, it is we who have rejected Him.
So as we let ourselves be formed by today’s readings, let us also commit ourselves to asking for faith as did the lepers: Lord, have pity on us! Let us always remember to give thanks for life and faith. Lord, have pity on us!
Your brother in the Lord,